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Be careful what you wish for: Jose Mourinho had been moaning about never receiving penalties and his Chelsea team were put painfully on the spot at a crowing Anfield last night, writes Henry Winter.
Arjen Robben and Geremi both missed in the shoot-out, denied by the brilliance of Pepe Reina, and Liverpool were off, laughing and dancing, singing and shouting, to Athens for the May 23 final of the European Cup. "In ancient Greece, we'll win it six times," chorused the Kop, before reminding Mourinho that talk is cheap, European trophies are real riches. "Some Teams Make Headlines – Others Make History," read one banner. And the real special ones make really special saves. Reina seems to come most to life when the ball goes dead. In years to come, Liverpool school art-classes will feature tableaux of the remarkable shoot-out, fabled images of Reina flinging himself this way and that, echoing past European feats of Bruce Grobbelaar and Jerzy Dudek. Athens bound: Liverpool players celebrate their victory on penalties at Anfield Chelsea's spirit subsided, like a rapidly deflating balloon, crushed by the reflexes of Reina. The Spaniard was a feared stopper of penalties during his time at Villarreal, and most famously in last season's FA Cup final, where he broke West Ham’s hearts. Yet Chelsea had Petr Cech in goal, and respected penalty-takers throughout their line-up. Maybe this was where Liverpool's 12th man, the fans, came into play; even though the shoot-out was down the Anfield Road End, close to the away support, the noise was still deafening. Bolo Zenden tucked away Liverpool's first against his old club, and then Reina saved magnificently from Robben. When Xabi Alonso drilled home Liverpool's second, the force was really with Rafa Benitez's side. Up stepped Frank Lampard to restore Chelsea's hope, slamming his kick past Reina. From one England midfielder to another, Steve Gerrard calmly guiding his to Cech's left. With whistles of derision ringing in Geremi's ears, Chelsea's next taker badly fluffed, again denied by the agile Reina. How fitting that Dirk Kuyt should apply the coup de grace, having embodied Liverpool's endeavour throughout 120 minutes, and even been thwarted by the bar and an errant linesman's flag. Kuyt triggered amazing scenes, all the Liverpool players hugging each other, except for Carragher, who set a new speed record in racing towards the Kop, a smile the width of the Mersey creasing his face. As Kuyt's ball nestled in the back of Cech's net, a guttural roar ripped through Anfield. Imagine the Carragher family impersonating Beatlemania at a Christmas party and that was the loud, proud sound seizing this famous old ground. How they revelled in Chelsea's demise, and Mourinho's hubris. Liverpool, celebrating their 10th successful shoot-out out of 11 in their history, deserved victory. Carragher was immense. Steven Gerrard worked tirelessly in midfield, his example inspiring Zenden and Javier Mascherano to displays of sustained excellence. Chelsea, so full of talent, were disappointing. Didier Drogba was isolated in attack, and rarely looked like troubling Carragher or Daniel Agger, whose fine goal had forced extra time. Even before Agger's spectacular intervention after 21 minutes, a spiky local reception committee had been ready and waiting for Chelsea. Carragher's oratory adorned the blood-red programme. Liverpool's wry centre-half also informed the "Echo" that "Mourinho is the funniest thing to come out of London since Del Boy and Rodney". Clearly, this was never going to be a jolly boys' outing for Mourinho's men. Liverpool tore into Chelsea, even Zenden sliding in hard on Salomon Kalou. After the anaemic first meeting, this was far more full-blooded affair. Rugby great Martin Johnson looked on, marvelling at the commitment and high-speed collisions of Gerrard and John Terry, Carragher and Drogba. Gerrard flattened Terry, a sight to send palpitations racing through England's head coach, Steve McClaren, squeezed into a front-row perch in the press box. Benitez's side lacked for nothing in determination, as John Obi Mikel discovered when a rash decision to dawdle in possession was ended by an express train from Huyton called Gerrard. Liverpool's captain was everywhere, soon winning a slightly soft free-kick when Joe Cole mistimed a challenge. Seeing the tackle coming in, Gerrard played for the dead-ball, which proved richly rewarding. Everyone expected a free-kick to the far post, looking for the towering Peter Crouch. Chelsea were certainly caught out as Gerrard rolled the ball to the edge of the area. Here was a goal made in Melwood. Kuyt leant into Salomon Kalou, and Agger had clear water. This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the views or position of Liverpool Football Club.

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