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Gerrard hails Liverpool's European record-Reuters

LIVERPOOL (Reuters) - Steven Gerrard hailed Liverpool's resilience after they reached the Champions League final for the second time in three years.

Rafael Benitez's side beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout on Tuesday night after Daniel Agger had brought the aggregate score level at 1-1 with a first half goal at Anfield.

Now they have a chance of lifting the trophy for the sixth time, having beaten AC Milan on penalties in a dramatic final in 2005 after going 3-0 down before halftime.

"It's superb to be there twice in three years," Gerrard told reporters. "We haven't done well domestically but we are some side in Europe. We are everybody's nightmare because we never know when we are beaten and that is a great attitude to have."

Liverpool, who were knocked out of the League and FA Cups by Arsenal, are third in the Premier League 13 points behind Chelsea and 18 points adrift of leaders Manchester United.

But Gerrard believes beating Chelsea for a second time in the competition will finally stop the west London club's manager Jose Mourinho claiming they were cheated when losing in 2005.

The Portuguese coach maintains that the only goal in that semi-final, scored by Luis Garcia, should not have been allowed.

"It lays to bed a few ghosts, it's still hurting them because they keep bringing it up," added Gerrard. "We forgot about the semi-final a couple years ago."


The England midfielder, who was among the scorers in the 4-1 shootout win over Chelsea on Tuesday, was full of praise for Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.

"When it comes down to penalties and you know you have one of the best keepers in the world, you can be confident," he said.

"But you do get nervous. There is nothing worse for a player, especially when the manager points to you and tells you you are on a penalty. You need big players to stand up and take responsibility and our penalty takers did."

Liverpool's co-chairman George Gillett joined in the celebrations with the players just two months after taking over at the club along with fellow U.S. sports tycoon Tom Hicks.

Striker Peter Crouch said: "It was quite messy in the dressing room with a lot of champagne but it's not often you get to a Champions Final.

"The new owner was here and his suit is soaked in champagne and his glasses were steamed up and we even tried to get him into the bath. I think you can say he has had an introduction to English football."

Liverpool will face Manchester United or AC Milan, who play their second leg on Wednesday, in the final on May 23 in Athens.

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