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Jose Mourinho feels there will be better quality on show in the UEFA Champions League than in next summer's World Cup finals.

Fifa bill the World Cup as the ultimate football competition, but Chelsea chief Mourinho feels the public will see better quality in Uefa's flagship competition.

Mourinho claims Europe's top coaches reached the conclusion during a meeting in Switzerland.

"In the coaches' meeting we had in Geneva, we all believed that in terms of football, the best competition, the competition with more quality, is the Champions League and not the World Cup," said the Portuguese tactician.

"So everybody, not just me, arrived at that conclusion. The quality of the Champions League, especially in the last part of the competition, is the highest quality in modern football.

"That's not a criticism, that's absolutely normal. In clubs, when you feel you have a weakness, you try all around the world to get the correct player for that position or role. In national teams you have to stick with what you have."

Mourinho's comments are sure to be music to the ears of Uefa, but he could come into conflict with the governing body later in the competition.

The Chelsea chief was hit with a touchline ban last term for his comments following Chelsea's clash with Barcelona, while later in the competition he angered Uefa officials due to suggestions he used a mobile phone to relay information to his assistant Rui Faria during the meetings with Bayern Munich.

He also courted controversy when suggesting Liverpool were gifted a place in the final by a dubious decision in the semi-final meeting between the two sides.

Mourinho has settled his difference with Uefa, but claims he would not hesitate in speaking out in the future if he felt something was not right.

"I won't hold back," he declared. "What I did last season was the consequence of something. So, if the competition is absolutely normal without anything strange, I would love that and I would love to be a good boy and to behave well.

"But if something strange happens, I have to do what I have to do. But the good thing is that the last season is over - finished. I am not suspended and I have no regrets.

"We can start from zero - tomorrow is a new competition for me. I have to forget what happened and try and win it," he added ahead of the meeting with Anderlecht.

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Frank Lampard admits that Chelsea have become the most-hated team in English football.

The England midfielder acknowledges that the millions provided by billionaire-backer Roman Abramovich has made The Blues hugely unpopular, but insists the bad press does not faze the players.

Indeed, Lampard claims the Chelsea squad have become a tighter unit because of the criticism and sees parallels between the way that they and the dominant Manchester United team of recent seasons are now portrayed.

"We know we're not very popular these days," he told Zoo magazine.

"It comes from the funds we have, and I can kind of understand that - we've got a lot of money and some teams have nothing like as much.

"Also, the fact that we're champions puts people's backs up - you understand what Man United have been saying for all these years about people not liking them.

"But it's something we have to use to create a spirit in the camp that makes us even stronger."

Lampard revealed that boss Jose Mourinho has helped the players to feed off the criticism and use it to their advantage.

"The manager is very strong on that, and the players are understanding that now, too," he continued.

"It gets to a stage where you use every piece of criticism you get to make you stronger.

"We get it from a lot of angles and we hope to answer it all by success. Simple as that."

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Man atrodo kad interviu tai yra tox dalykas kai reporteris uzhduoda klausima o zajdejas y jy atsako 😁
Isn't it funny? You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody. But ringing phone has to be answered, doesn't it?
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Nesugalwojau kaip kitaip sitokius pawadint 😄 Pareiskimus spaudai? 🙄 😂
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😁 gerai bus ir taip tik del vaizdo ir interviu ydek 1 koky 😄
Isn't it funny? You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody. But ringing phone has to be answered, doesn't it?
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Chelsea captain John Terry insists there are no internal rifts as Jose Mourinho tries to keep his star-studded squad happy.

Due to owner Roman Abramovich's monstrous spending power, Mourinho has assembled a squad which is the envy of most clubs in The Premiership, and Europe.

But Mourinho's acquisition of so many established names has sparked talk that some players are upset with only playing a bit-part role at Stamford Bridge.

Ricardo Carvalho has already publicly expressed his disappointment at having being left out of the team during the early weeks of the season.

The defender's outburst earned a public rebuke from Blues boss Mourinho, who is confident he can juggle the demands of his players.

Terry is also steadfast in his belief that the peripheral members of the first team are not due to create schisms in the squad.

The Blues skipper points to Geremi, who scored on Saturday against Sunderland, as an example of how every member of the squad will have a role to play this season.

"Everyone seems to have spoken about how unhappy various members of the squad must be. Members like Geremi," said Terry.

"They don't realise the great spirit here. We're all professionals, we all know our jobs. The manager sat us all down and said we will get the chance to play.

"Geremi got his chance on Saturday against Sunderland. He'd kept fit, played well, scored a goal and got man of the match.

"That shows where we are as a squad. If you need an example, take him. It's that togetherness that will take us through in the Champions League and The Premiership.

"The players here are hungry to play and we will all do all we can to do well when we do play."

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Reaction: Mourinho defiant in one-goal victory
Tuesday, Sep 13, 2005
Reaction: Mourinho defiant in one-goal victory

José Mourinho shrugged off criticism of his team’s single goal victory and stated that he was satisfied with his team’s performance.

He said: “In the first-half, we played very well, very good football. Anderlecht could not go over the midfield line. They didn’t have one single shot.

“Second-half, we were waiting for them to come at us. You wait and wait and wait and they just don’t do it. You have to be realistic. In the last 10 minutes, they had a go at us, put pressure on us but we feel very comfortable when we have to defend in our third,” Mourinho explained.

Responding to suggestions that the team should have scored more goals to make the result more comfortable, the Chelsea manager answered:

“Why? If I know Belgian teams. If I know they have speed and want us to go, for them to go behind us, why should we do it? To please you? No — to please me, three points. Supporters are happy, three points, they prefer 1-0 to 1-1.

“Look at our possession: 64 per cent. The players did what I wanted. I am happy. Result justified,” he added emphatically.

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'Sven's right: I was off-form' - Lampard

Frank Lampard has admitted England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was right to say his performances are not up to last season's high standard.

The Swede appeared to criticise Lampard in between their recent World Cup qualifying matches against Wales and Northern Ireland for struggling to find the kind of form that won him the media's player of the year award.

Eriksson's remarks were ignored by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who claimed there was nothing wrong with Lampard's commitment to the cause or his form during the team's five consecutive victories.

Chelsea lead the Premiership with five straight wins and are yet to concede a goal and Mourinho said Lampard's contribution has been invaluable.

The Portuguese coach dismissed suggestions he may rest the England midfielder, who is chasing David James's record of consecutive Premiership appearances, and his decision paid off when Lampard notched his third goal of the season with the winner in the 1-0 win over Anderlecht in their opening Champions League game at Stamford Bridge last night.

But while Lampard's form has come under much scrutiny following England's defeat to Northern Ireland in Belfast, the player says Eriksson's assessment of his current form is spot-on.

'I don't need a rest. I am looking forward to progressing this season and doing even better than last season,' said Lampard.

'I didn't start so great last season and ended up footballer of the year. My manager here is very pleased with me and I spoke to the England manager when I went away with them and I am very pleased.

'I am playing for a team that has won every game in Chelsea. The England game wasn't great and I was disappointed with it.

'If I was on top form now I would be worried that I could sustain it all season, including the important part of the season and the World Cup itself, so hopefully I will keep building up and surpass what I did last year.

'When Sven said about me not being on top form I think he is right. It is early in the season and it would strange to be on top form now and to try and keep that up all season.

'I don't think Sven was criticising me, he made a fair statement. I think he could have made it about anyone in the team at this stage of the season because not too many are firing on all cylinders.

'I don't feel I need to come back from England and prove myself. I am pleased we've won the last two games and I'm pleased with the team's start to the season. We've won every game so what more could you ask for?'

Lampard's viciously swerving free-kick was the difference between Chelsea and their Belgian opponents as the new Champions League campaign began.

But despite winning all six of their matches so far this season - each with a clean sheet - the critics are still arguing Chelsea are not playing as well as they did last season.

Lampard rejects their views completely and points to the fact they sit on top of the league with a record which is the envy of most of their rivals in the top flight.

'What are high levels if they are not winning every game? We know that at times we are not playing the flowing football we can,' the midfielder added.

'But no team is doing that in the Premier League. We set high standards but we are not disappointed.

'Against Anderlecht, we played some lovely football in the first half and it is not as easy as people think. The last third of the pitch is hard to create things in.

'My goal was a nice strike and more importantly it won the game for us. We started really brightly and saw that their formation was set up to make it difficult for us. The only disappointing thing as a team is that we didn't push on and score more goals.'

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John Terry is hoping Chelsea exact revenge on Liverpool when the sides meet later this month.

The Blues are still fuming at crashing out of last year's UEFA Champions League semi-finals at Anfield, with The Reds then going on to beat Milan in the final.

Luis Garcia's early goal eliminated Chelsea last season, a night Terry has found hard to forget, but the England man aims to put that right on September 28, live on Sky Sports 1.

The 24-year-old believes Jose Mourinho's side will be fired up at Anfield in order to banish the memory of their European exit back in May.

"We've got that extra incentive going back to Anfield. We know the fans are going to be great again, that they'll be up for it," explained Terry.

"But in the players' minds we're keeping quiet as we know it's our chance to go there and get revenge.

"It was a terrible, terrible night, there are bad memories for everybody. But this is the perfect opportunity to go back and put it right."

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Jose Mourinho believes that Arsenal can already consider themselves outsiders for the title after losing two games in the early stages of the season.

Defeats to Middlesbrough and Chelsea have left Arsenal reeling, and the likes of defender Ashley Cole publicly questioning the side's capacity for success.

Manager Arsene Wenger is well aware that The Gunners were unbeaten two years ago when they lifted the title and current holders Chelsea lost just once - and so is Mourinho.

"If we had lost two matches I would probably be thinking we cannot lose any more," said the Portuguese tactician.

"Maybe the big teams will lose matches in a row, you never know. But if you look at the last two seasons, Arsenal were champions with no defeats. And we were champions with one defeat.

"The tendency is for the big teams not to lose many matches. Maybe Arsenal defender Ashley Cole is right when he says you must suffer no more than four defeats in a season. He's probably correct.

""We are top. Only Charlton can have the same points as us. But of all the other teams competing to be champions, everybody else has lost points.

"Man U lost two, Liverpool four, Arsenal six. So we can certainly say we have an advantage on them.

"We just have to win our games. This one is another game - more difficult because it is away."

Chelsea face Charlton Athletic, who have maximum points from their season to date, but Mourinho could not resist the opportunity to try to undermine the season's surprise packages.

"At the end of the season, you will see a difference between their power and our power," asserted Mourinho. "There will be 20, maybe 30 points between us.

"Right now, they could beat us. Why not? Anyone can beat anyone in The Premiership and, yes, Charlton could beat Chelsea.

"But at the end of the season, Chelsea will be one of the top teams in The Premiership and Charlton will be happy to be in the Uefa Cup. That will be good for them."

Mourinho also looked at the impact of The Addicks' Darren Bent who has been superb since arriving from Ipswich Town.

"Bent is a good player. I think he has shown he is a player with Premiership quality," added Mourinho.

"But I don't think a team like Chelsea, Man U or Arsenal could take a player like that and throw him in at Champions League level.

"For these medium level teams, it is an intelligent thing to sign that kind of player.

"I don't think he will score goals every week. I certainly don't think he will score 40 goals.

"But if he scores 15 times, he will have had a good season."

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Reaction: Clarke pleased with gear shift
Saturday, Sep 17, 2005


Any murmurs that the Barclays Premiership leaders had not played our part in making an entertaining afternoon at The Valley were few and far between. Assistant manager Steve Clarke was happy to go along with the consensus that the London derby between the top two had not disappointed.



Shortly after the final whistle blew on Chelsea’s 2-0 win, a contented Clarke said: “I think it was a good game. Charlton were good opposition, they’ve started the season well and the first-half was quite even although we had the better chances.



“We were asked a question in the first-half, could we find another gear? We asked the players to do that at half-time, put pressure on Charlton higher up the pitch and we got two quality goals to win the game.”



The positive reaction from the players was there for all to see when Chelsea came out after the break and in a short burst, wrestled away any remaining grasp Charlton had on the game.



“Ultimately it was quite comfortable,” reckoned Clarke, “although it was difficult to get to that stage. You don’t win a match in five minutes, you win it over the course of 90 minutes.”



Michael Essien, who continued to look a man born to play in the Premiership drew special mention from the Chelsea assistant boss.



“He had an interrupted pre-season, because of the transfer saga, but he is a top quality player. We knew that and that is why we paid the money for him. Every game he is getting stronger and I’m sure he’ll get better and better as the season goes on.



“It’s a different culture, different team-mates but he has settled in very, very quickly.”



Charlton manager Alan Curbishley looked like a man who hadn’t taken long to realise any pre-match optimism was a little unwarranted.



“Seeing Chelsea first-hand today, I can see that they are so powerful as a side,” Curbishley admitted.



“I think they go into games quite believing that if they score, then that will be it. They have that about them.



“Apart from their football and organisation, they showed today that they are athletes. There were a couple of times when we burst away but were caught.



“Essien, Makelele, Frank [Lampard] in the midfield, I don’t think there can be many people who work as hard as them. The previous years we have got a fair amount of points against the top sides, Chelsea included, but since he [Mourinho] has been there, they have been a lot different.



“They are powerful, disciplined, well-organised and they have got so many match-winners. If you don’t make a mistake like we did for the first goal, they have so much quality that can change a game on its head which is difficult for everybody else.



“You have got play as well as you can, and then maybe a bit more, and then if a little bit of luck comes into it, maybe you can nick something.”



The match-winners on this occasion were Hernán Crespo with his second goal of the season and Arjen Robben with his first. But once again, the defence that is now officially the tightest ever at the start of a Premiership season, could not escape without praise.



“We didn’t look like conceding,” Clarke believed. “Teams will always put you under pressure in certain moments of the game but we defended very well, as we did last season. It is one the strengths of our team.



“We’ve played six games, won them all, conceded no goals and scored 12. It is a very solid start and we are all delighted with it - but there is a long way to go.”

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Didier Drogba says the rest of The Premiership are 'running scared' of Chelsea after the London side maintained their 100 percent record without hitting top gear.

Jose Mourinho's men have set another top flight record by keeping clean sheets in all of their first six games of the season, following a 2-0 win over Charlton, although are yet to truly hit their stride after somewhat unconvincing victories over the likes of Wigan and Sunderland.

The Blues have already opened up a chasm of a gap above London rivals Arsenal, as well as remaining seven points ahead of Manchester United, and Drogba has taken the opportunity to taunt their rivals after insisting there is more to come from the all-conquering Chelsea.

"It must be frightening for our rivals when we are not playing well but still winning every game," said Drogba.

"When you play badly our rivals must think: 'What are Chelsea going to be like when they are playing well?'.

"It's great for us, we're still in front of everybody else and we're not even in top form.

"I think teams are already running scared."

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Joe Cole has warned his Chelsea pay-masters they are alienating the club's normal fans after the London side were criticised for rising ticket prices.

The Blues fans voted with their feet as under 30,000 people attended their opening UEFA Champions League fixture against Anderlecht, as prices at Stamford Bridge now range from £45-60 for the average fan.

The Premiership champions also attracted criticism as they doubled ticket prices for their disabled support before the start of the current campaign.

England international midfielder Cole has now entered the debate by stating that Roman Abramovich's outfit are running the risk of failing to attract a new batch of young supporters if they persist with their current policy.

"The club have got to find a way of filling the ground," said Cole.

"The normal fan cannot afford the prices.

"We have to attract a new generation of fans to come to Stamford Bridge."

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Lampard untroubled by Chelsea knockers

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Midfielder Frank Lampard is amused by criticism of Chelsea as boring and thinks the idea that the English champions might be unbeatable is risible.

Lampard, speaking at the inaugural FIFpro world player of the year awards where he was one of three Chelsea players voted on to a World XI, said he was unconvinced by critics who said the London club were making English football boring.

'I find it quite funny,' the England midfielder said. 'We're top of the league and we've yet to lose a game.

'We obviously don't agree with people who say we're boring. We'll just keep on trying to play enjoyable, exciting football and win games.

'If we win the league again and people find that boring, well I'm sorry,' added the England midfielder with a grin.

Such has been their commanding form so far this season, bookmakers have started offering odds not only on Chelsea going through the season unbeaten but also on them winning all of their matches.

'We're not invincible, no team is invincible,' Lampard said. 'And we have to make sure that we don't ever think we are because that would be our downfall.

'We've got to stay very focused and be aware that we are beatable and could always lose our next game. We have that attitude every week and if we keep that up we should be very successful.'

Former Chelsea manager and player Gianluca Vialli agreed with Lampard's caution.

'We all know that the premiership is a very long championship,' said the Italian. 'Anything can happen. There's going to come a point when the best players and best teams will slow down because they're playing so many competitions.

'But certainly Chelsea look very impressive, particularly as they won the title last year and you would have thought they'd have started more slowly.

'But they've started as if they've still got a point to prove and so far they've been great. It's going to be difficult for Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool ... to keep up with them.'

Vialli also said he thought Jose Mourinho's side were far from boring.

'Chelsea are a very entertaining side,' said the former Juventus striker. 'They combine better than anybody else the fighting spirit, amazing desire to win and high-temp play of English football with the very solid, consistent, defensive play of Italian football.

'This is possibly the best combination, and if you can manage it in England, Italy or France you are likely to win a lot. Mourinho has been brilliant to achieve that.'

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Rooney - Chelsea show 'lack of respect'

Wayne Rooney maintains suggestions by Chelsea that the Barclays Premiership is a one-horse race shows a 'lack of respect' - and declared Manchester United can still compete with the best.

On the eve of the new campaign, Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon - who left Old Trafford to take up a post at Stamford Bridge two years ago - confidently declared Jose Mourinho would again guide his side to Premiership glory.

Chelsea have started the new season in commanding fashion, winning all six of their matches to date, and are yet to concede a goal.

United, in third place, already trail the champions by seven points, albeit with a game in hand.

But England striker Rooney - honoured earlier this week with the inaugural FIFPro world young player of the year award but banned for two matches by UEFA yesterday following his red card against Villarreal - insisted talk of a one-horse title race was wide of the mark.

'I think that is just a lack of respect for the other teams in the Premiership,' Rooney said.

'There are a lot of good teams in the Premiership and various clubs can win the league.'

The England striker added: 'Chelsea have had a great start, but we have had a good start as well.

'We have had some tough away games and are still unbeaten.

'It is going to be a tough season again, but hopefully we can snatch the title back off Chelsea.'

In most campaigns, United's 11-point haul from an opening five fixtures - which have included trips to Anfield, Newcastle and Everton, plus a Manchester derby - would have been regarded as more than respectable.

This season, however, it leaves them already well behind Chelsea, and in need of a victory against Blackburn on Saturday to keep in touch with Jose Mourinho's all-conquering team.

While Rooney has been impressed by Chelsea's fine start, the striker insists United remain a big threat.

'They have won all their games and have not conceded a goal, so I think they are doing something right,' reflected the England striker.

'We can still compete with Chelsea - and anyone in the world. We have got the players. Hopefully it will be a good season.'

United will be without midfield enforcer Roy Keane for up to eight weeks after it emerged the veteran had broken a metatarsal bone in his left foot during Sunday's goalless draw at Anfield.

However, Rooney feels Sir Alex Ferguson has the squad to compensate for the loss of the Irishman.

'It is disappointing he is out, and it is a big loss for us, but hopefully the players who come in will do the job as well,' the teenager said.

Rooney was in London earlier this week to collect his accolade, voted for by his fellow members of professional players' unions from around the globe.

The 19-year-old admitted it had been a humbling experience to be recognised as one of the most talented young players on the planet, and it came following a troubled week for the United striker.

Rooney was sent off during the Champions League clash against Villarreal in Spain for a sarcastic clap at referee Kim Milton Nielsen, and then failed to find the net against Liverpool on Sunday as the Red Devils slipped seven points adrift of the Premiership leaders.

Yesterday he was banned for two matches following his red card against Villarreal and will miss matches against Benfica and Lille.

The teenager, however, firmly believes he can continue to make great strides in his game.

He said: 'I think there is room for improvement in any player, and on the training pitch I always practice to get better and hopefully it works, and in the future I can hopefully get better.'

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Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard says the Premiership title race is not a foregone conclusion, despite the Blues' imperious start to the new campaign.

Chelsea have won all six league games and not conceded a goal to open up a six-point lead at the top of the table.

"I am sure the rest of the league is not giving up and it is definitely not cut and dried yet," said Lampard, 27.

"It is too hard to say how close the league is going to be. It is so early to be talking about a points gap."

Chelsea won 2-0 at Charlton on Saturday and Lampard believes it will be very hard for teams to catch Jose Mourinho's side if they keep up their current form.

"We played very well at the weekend and when we do it is hard for teams to beat us because we have a lot of quality in the side," added Lampard.

"But Charlton played well and gave us a very good game - there are a lot of good teams out there and no easy matches.

"Every team just has to push themselves as far as they can go - it is about them raising their standard to the one we have set.

"We know there are some tough games coming up and we must stay focused on the challenge. There is a long way to go but we must try and do what we did last year.

"It's a different motivation but we are still motivated. We are very driven to retain the title - as much as we were last season to win it for the first time in 50 years."

The Premiership has been criticised in recent weeks for losing some of its entertainment value, a claim Lampard is quick to deny.

"I don't think the league is losing its edge at all, it will always have that excitement factor and that's the way it still is," he stated.

"I have seen some really exciting games this season and we have played some exciting stuff at Chelsea too.

"You want to win games first and foremost and excite the fans too but you have to remember that it is not always possible.

"Of course we would take winning every game 1-0 - it would be incredible to win every single game in a season."

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Chelsea striker Didier Drogba believes supporters will see the best of him this year after an inconsistent debut season in The Premiership.

The Ivorian, who scored 16 goals for the champions last season, has revealed that last season represented a steep learning curve.

"Last year was my first at Chelsea and it's not easy to adapt to a new team," said Drogba.

"It's not easy to adapt to a new league either.

"This year I know The Premiership better, I know my team-mates better and I think my body is better than last year also."

Drogba has claimed that goals are not his only motivation and believes his all-round game has been as equally influential to Chelsea's relentless domestic and European form as his penalty box prowess

"I can resist when someone wants to have a go at me. I give a lot of power to try to protect the ball so after this it's not easy to score.

"You have to be balanced. I don't really care because I do this job for my friends.

"To help my friends to score is the same as scoring goals myself - it's in my mentality.

"I'm not focused on scoring goals. I like to score, I'm a striker, but if I can make an assist, it's fantastic."

The former Marseille forward has also dismissed critics' suggestions the 27-year-old goes to ground too easily and believes he has been a marked man ever since his club record signing last summer.

"As for falling down, I don't fall down just because I haven't got the ball.

"Sometimes the defender is very strong and they don't want me to score.

"Sometimes they don't play the ball only me. They want to beat the guy who cost £24 million."

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Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has insisted that UEFA Champions League opponents Chelsea are beatable.

Jose Mourinho's side top The Premiership after winning every game, and travel to Anfield for two games in a week against The Reds.

Benitez's troops first face Chelsea on Wednesday in their Champions League group, while the two teams do battle again on Sunday in the league.

Despite Chelsea's dominant start to the campaign, Liverpool are the reigning European champions and made a good start in the defence of their trophy with a win at Real Betis, and Benitez insists they do not fear Chelsea.

"Chelsea are not unbeatable," said Benitez.

"We have beaten them before and we can beat them again. They are a better team than they were last year but we're a better team as well.

"To beat them you need every player to be playing at 100 percent and you can't afford to make any mistakes because they have good players who can punish you.

"You need to work hard and concentrate for the full game.

"They are not easy to play against because they work very hard in defence and always have fine players going forward, but they can be beaten. We are confident, that's for sure."

Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso is confident the club can repeat last season's Anfield win which took them to the final in Istanbul where they claimed their fifth European Cup.

"We have a lot of respect for Chelsea but we are not afraid of them and I know we can beat them," said Alonso.

"They are going very well this season but no side are unbeatable. We know all about them and we know it will be a tough game but we're confident.

"We want to have another good run in the Champions League this season and repeat what we achieved last year.

"It will be difficult but we're going to take things step by step and game by game and then see how far we can go."

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Liverpool's Fernando Morientes has cheekily suggested that Chelsea will not qualify from the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Morientes was cup tied as Liverpool knocked Chelsea out of the competition last season, but he believes that Real Betis will join The Reds in the knock out stages of the competition.

"We've got them sussed,'' insisted Morientes.

"If I was a betting man I'd tip us and Real Betis to go through - and not Chelsea.

"We were accused of being lucky in the semi-final.

"Yet Chelsea did not score in either leg and that tells you a lot about the good work done by Rafa Benitez. It was a perfectly-planned match.

"We have a great chance of beating them again - not because we are European champions but because we know how to play Chelsea.

"Perhaps it is better for us to face Chelsea because we know them so well.

"We have confidence knowing we knocked them out last season. But for the sake of English football, it would be best if we both go through."

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Hernan Crespo has confessed that he is still devastated by Liverpool's astonishing turnaround in the UEFA Champions League final against Milan.

Liverpool beat Crespo's owners Chelsea in the semi-final, but it was the defeat inflicted on his loan team, Milan that rankles most.

Crespo is now back at Chelsea after Milan failed to find a permanent agreement, and he is keen to get revenge and ease the nightmares over last season's defeat, in which his brace proved too little.

"I want to forget the final against Liverpool! But it's impossible," said Crespo.

"I have tried so much to wipe it out of my memory but nothing works.

"It still makes me crazy. I scored two goals in the final of the Champions League - but it was not enough.

"Every time I see the TV now, I see Steven Gerrard with the trophy, I'm still angry. It's like a knife.

"Afterwards, I could not sleep well because there were always moments from the game playing in my head again and again.''

Milan had led 3-0 in the game, only for an amazing spell from the English side to bring the game back to 3-3 allowing them to win on penalties.

"My wife kept telling me to forget it but when you score two goals in such a game and the team is leading by three, you have a right to think you will lift the trophy," added Crespo.

"I think the only way to forget that final is to win it this season with Chelsea.

"I am here to win - to win all of the prizes.

"With respect to Liverpool, it must have been destiny. They passed through the semi-final without scoring - because it was not a goal against Chelsea - and with Milan in the final it was just a case of six crazy minutes.

"If you play like that for six minutes in training you never get three goals."

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