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GUARDIAN – Liverpool v Chelsea: five flashpoints from a modern football rivalry | Dominic Fifield

With the two sides renewing a stormy relationship in the Capital One Cup semi-final on Tuesday, a look back at some of the key fixtures where Merseysiders have seen red and Londoners have turned the air blue• José Mourinho admits regret at failing to lure Steven GerrardGames between Chelsea and Liverpool have always had their own particular needle, with collisions invariably feisty, but the hostility between the two clubs and their supporters rose to new levels on the appointments of José Mourinho and Rafael Benítez back in the summer of 2004. This was the old order against the nouveaux riches and familiarity has helped to breed contempt, with 37 meetings in domestic and European competitions in the period since. There have been a League Cup final, three Champions League semi-finals and a last eight European fixture, alongside FA Cup semis and a final and pivotal league clashes. Here are five of the more memorable in a rivalry which will be resumed in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday: Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Football rumours: Rafael Benítez to rejoin Liverpool?

Today’s rumours are recovering from a proper swipeWhen he was out of work, rumour had it that Rafael Bentez used to stroll into Liverpool’s training ground with his dog Nelson – ”great man, great dog” – and engage in witty repartee with Roy Hodgson, the fella who nicked his job. They really did like to see Benitez at first, although there came a time when they wondered whether it was appropriate for him to keep coming in. But the visits soon stopped. Bentez started a blog. He won a blogging award, which convinced Chelsea to hire him. Then Napoli lured him to Italy last year and the future looked bright again but now Bentez is hinting that he will leave Naples at the end of the season, leading to speculation that he is set for a glorious return to Liverpool. His odds have been slashed to 6-1. No one tell Brendan Rodgers. That poor man.Meanwhile Bentez has announced that Mario Balotelli will not be joining Napoli. Well, duh. It all makes sense now. He wants him to be his new Dirk Kuyt, his Crouchigol, his Morientesgol, his new Lord of the Manor of Frodsham. Continue reading…

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