Chelsea beats Liverpool 1:0

Joe Cole scored in the 29th minute to give Chelsea a 1-0 win over Liverpool on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

Cole knocked in a cross from Didier Drogba. Ricardo Carvalho gathered the ball in his own half and passed to Drogba on the right. The Ivory Coast striker raced ahead and shook off Daniel Agger before rolling the ball across the penalty area for Cole. The second leg will be Tuesday at Anfield.

Chelsea is trying to win four major trophies this season. The two-time defending Premier League champions already have won the League Cup and trail Manchester United by three points in the English league, with a game at Stamford Bridge on May 9 to come.

The goal was Chelsea's first against Liverpool in the Champions League. Last year in the group stage, the teams played to a pair of 0-0 ties. The year before in the semifinals, they played to another 0-0 tie in the first leg. Liverpool then won 1-0 in the second leg at Anfield to reach the final, where the five-time champions beat AC Milan on penalties.

Cole's goal was only his second for Chelsea this season. The attacking midfielder, who returned this month after a four-week absence with a broken foot, also scored in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Blackburn in the League Cup in October.

Frank Lampard had a chance to give Chelsea the lead in the eighth minute at Stamford Bridge, but Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina made a good save. A minute later, Andriy Shevchenko curled a shot over the bar.
Dirk Kuyt had Liverpool's best chance in the first half with a 22nd-minute header that was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. Kuyt had another header in the 50th.

Steven Gerrard then sent a hard shot on Chelsea's goal in the 53rd. John Arne Riise's long throw-in into the area from the left was headed away by John Obi Mikel, but Gerrard got the ball and Cech made the save.
Liverpool striker Peter Crouch entered as a substitute a minute earlier, and his presence immediately invigorated the Liverpool attack.

Lampard had another chance in the 81st, but his hard shot from the left was saved by Reina
Both teams had one last good chance in injury time. Agger first sent a long, hard shot that Cech saved, and Drogba headed wide a minute later off Lampard's cross, the AP reports.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said 1-0 was a positive result to take to Liverpool next week despite frustration that his side could not score more goals in their Champions League semi-final first leg.

A first-half strike from Joe Cole separated the teams, meeting for the third season in a row in Europe's top club competition on Wednesday. Chelsea dominated the first 45 minutes but Liverpool came back into the match in the second half.

"I'm very happy with the players. It's a positive result. It's a victory so that when the game starts in Anfield, Chelsea will be ahead 1-0," Mourinho said.

"I am frustrated... For what we did in the first half we did more than enough to score two, three or four goals," he said.

"For sure (Rafael) Benitez and his people will think it's a result that will give them the chance to be in the final but me and my people think it's also a result for us to be there."

Mourinho and Benitez agreed the Anfield crowd would make a difference but the Liverpool manager would not be drawn on which side had the advantage.

"We play in Anfield with our supporters behind us but at the same time they are a very good in counter-attack and we must be aware of this," the cautious Spaniard said.

Mourinho, whose side lost at the same stage of the competition to a lone goal at Anfield two years ago said Liverpool, with five European Cups had an historical advantage of success in Europe over many decades.

"They play at home and they are a strong side at home," he said.

Mourinho struck one note of discord over an apparent second half handball that was not given by German refereee Markus Merk against Alvaro Arbeloa, Reuters reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov