The stage was set for the perfect fight in the next round of Champions League: Liverpool were down 3-1 in their first-round clash with Chelsea in the Champions League and needed three goals at Stamford Bridge to proceed to the next round.
Liverpool is not a team new to the art of comeback victories, and Rafael Benitez is the mastermind tactician in Europe who can get that sort of thing done, so history would state that this club can do it again.
But is history an indicator of the future?
Chelsea had lost John Terry, their influential captain, to suspension, while Mascherano would be making his return for the Reds. Gerrard's status was in question with his injuries, but Liverpool had managed to defeat Manchester United without the help of him before. And while Liverpool sharpened their axes by demolishing Blackburn 4-0 over the weekend, Chelsea leaked goals against a weaker Bolton in a span of 20 minutes.
The clash between the two storied opponents began with Liverpool's Aurelio giving a warning shot to Cech. That did not wake Chelsea up, and they paid the price when the Liverpool fullback went straight for goal as Cech stepped away from his line.
The next goal came soon after, as Alonso slotted one past Cech. The Liverpool dominance alarmed Hiddink, and he bought in Anelka for Kalou before the halftime.
But the break saw the fortunes reverse, as both Drogba and Alex found the net in the span of 10 minutes to bring the score to 2-2.
An outclassed Benitez then substituted Torres, their main threat to Chelsea, and Lampard proceeded to add another goal to his tally. Surely this will put an end to Liverpool's chance of qualifying?
Though their main weapons were sheathed, Liverpool never lost their spirit. Lucas found enough spirit to carry the fight and slotted home a 25-yard kick that needed deflection. Dirk Kuyt then joined the rebellion burying a nice cross from Reira in the net. The fight was back on.
With less than 10 minutes remaining and Chelsea suddenly looking worried, the Blues captain slotted in a nice pass from Nicholas Anelka to seal the team's victory. Lampard had saved the day yet again.
The final score line read 4-4, with the aggregate favouring Chelsea 7-5.
Chelsea are through to the next round to face another familiar foe: Barcelona.
Did Benitez make a mistake by calling Torres and Mascherano a bit too early? That question will remain unanswered.
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