Benitez - Duo are key

Gerrard and Torres praised by Reds boss

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres are the backbone of his Reds line-up.

The pair will line up against Chelsea in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final with Gerrard fit again, while Torres will lead the attack.

Blues boss Avram Grant recently revealed his admiration for Gerrard, stating that he would love to have him at Stamford Bridge.

However, Benitez is looking forward to Gerrard showing Grant just how special he is when he scores the winner against the West Londoners.

Torres has been a revelation in his debut season in England and Benitez has so much faith and confidence in the striker due to his ability to create a goal out of nothing.


"Gerrard is a key player for us, and when he scores the winner in the semi-final maybe Chelsea will see even more how important he is for us," said Benitez.

"It is not just about one or two players. We have players of quality who can change a game, and we must play as a unit.

"But when you have Torres or Gerrard, and you are not playing well, the team know that these players can score to get you out of a problem.

"We have a lot of confidence because we know Torres can create something."

Liverpool has knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage twice in the last three seasons, although Benitez has conceded having the first leg at Anfield will be a strange situation.

Nevertheless he wants his troops to score on home soil and keep Chelsea off the scoreboard.

"When we have beaten Chelsea previously in two European semi-finals, the second leg has been at Anfield," he continued. "This time it will be the reverse situation, so we need to score and not concede here.

"I would prefer to play the second game at Anfield, but we just have to manage the situation.


"The difference will be key players in key moments, but our fans can score the first goal. And with the games being the other way around this time maybe the fans will concentrate even more for us.

"I am pleased with our form at home, but Chelsea are excellent. We must do our job, be patient and concentrate. We have to control the game and not concede possession.

"Our fans are clever, they know that it will be difficult at Stamford Bridge so they will know how much they must be behind us here.

"I know we have not scored at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, but we are playing well and I know we can score in this tie in both matches.

"We have had difficult ties like this. In previous seasons we played away second against Juventus and Marseille, and we got through the ties. We can do it again. We have enough confidence to score in any stadium."