MX23RW : Tuesday, September 25 05:36:31

On this day: Chelsea beat Liverpool to reach Champions League final

Six years ago today, Chelsea overcome English rivals Liverpool to reach the final of the Champions League.

For Chelsea, in the mid-2000s, it had often been a case of always the bridesmaid and never the bride as far as the Champions League was concerned.

Between 2003 and 2007, they had been knocked out at the semi-final stage on three occasions, twice at the hands of Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Having reached the final four of the competition once again in 2008, by chance the draw had paired them with the Merseysiders for a third time in recent years. The first leg at Anfield ended in a 1-1 draw following a late own goal from Reds defender John Arne Riise, meaning that when the sides reconvened at Stamford Bridge on this day six years ago, the Blues were regarded as the slight favourites.

Even before a ball had been kicked it was an emotional evening in West London. Just six days after the death of his mother, Pat, Frank Lampard was included in the Chelsea starting lineup and he looked composed as the home side applied pressure during the first half.

Didier Drogba was first to test Pepe Reina with a shot that skidded off the surface from distance, while on a rare venture forward at the other end, Petr Cech was forced to race off his line to block a shot from Liverpool frontman Fernando Torres.

Didier Drogba, then of Chelsea, celebrates scoring against Liverpool in the Champions League on April 30, 2008.© Getty Images

Fittingly, Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute with Lampard at the centre of the move. It was his through-pass that released Salomon Kalou and when Reina parried his shot, Drogba was on hand to fire the rebound inside the Liverpool goalkeeper's near post.

As the half drew to a close Michael Ballack almost doubled Chelsea's advantage, but his effort from distance flew a couple of inches over the crossbar.

Yet, it was Rafael Benitez's Liverpool that started the second half brightly, with Dirk Kuyt seeing his effort from close range pushed to safety by Cech.

The Chelsea stopper was powerless to prevent the visitors from drawing his team level in the 64th minute, though. Yossi Benayoun cut inside from the right flank, before prodding a pass through for Torres. From there, the Spaniard committed Cech off his line, which created enough space for him to find the bottom corner of the net.

The goal - Liverpool's first at Stamford Bridge in nine outings - forced the tie into extra time, which was largely dominated by the West Londoners.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard celebrates scoring a penalty against Liverpool in the Champions League on April 30, 2008.© Getty Images

Michael Essien thought that he had put his side back in front with a powerful drive from distance, only for the goal to be chalked off because four Chelsea players stood in an offside position. It didn't matter, though, because moments later, Ballack was upended inside the area by Liverpool substitute Sami Hyypia.

It was Lampard's moment, as he slotted his penalty into the bottom right hand corner of the net. As he ran off to celebrate, he kissed the black armband that he was wearing in tribute to his late mum, before pointing to the sky.

Then, in the 115th minute, Drogba claimed his second of the match when he turned in Nicolas Anelka's low cross, meaning that although Ryan Babel pulled one back three minutes from time with a shot from 35 yards out, Chelsea had secured their spot in the final at the fourth attempt.

Speaking after match, defeated boss Benitez said: "We did not play as we can in the first half but in the second, and early in extra-time, we were the better side, but we could not capitalise and their goals killed us. I'm still proud."

CHELSEA: Cech; Essien, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole; J Cole (Anelka), Ballack, Makelele, Lampard (Shevchenko); Kalou (Malouda), Drogba

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel (Hyypia), Riise; Kuyt, Alonso, Mascherano, Benayoun (Pennant); Gerrard, Torres (Babel)

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Chelsea's Frank Lampard celebrates scoring against Fenerbahce at Stamford Bridge on April 08, 2008.
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool66001421218
2Manchester CityMan City65101931616
3Chelsea65101441016
4Watford6411116513
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs6402127512
6Arsenal6402129312
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd631299010
8Bournemouth63121011-110
9Leicester CityLeicester6303111019
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves62316609
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13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton6123811-35
14Southampton612369-35
15Fulham6123813-55
16Burnley6114710-34
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham6114511-64
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle602448-42
19Cardiff CityCardiff6024314-112
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield6024314-112

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