NYON, Switzerland - Just for a change, Liverpool and Chelsea have been paired together in the knockout stages of the Champions League following Friday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The sides will meet for the fifth straight season in the competition. The Premier League clubs have met three times in semi-finals in the last four years and also in the group phase. Liverpool came through in 2005 and 2007 but the Londoners finally overcame their bogey team in extra-time last season before losing to Manchester United in the final NEWS: Lampard: Not Liverpool this year please PHOTOS: Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool (AET) - 2008 semi-final Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson pronounced himself happy after Friday's Champions League draw paired the holders with Porto and kept them away from Barcelona in any potential semi-final. Barcelona meet Bayern Munich while Villarreal will play Arsenal in the other last-eight ties. Arsenal beat the Spaniards in the 2006 last four before losing to Barca in the final. Ferguson has some painful memories of Porto, who knocked United out en route to winning the trophy in 2004, while Jose Mourinho was coach of the Portuguese side. Having gained revenge on Mourinho by knocking his current club Inter Milan out in the last round, he is ready to complete the job by ending Porto's interest. "This is a good draw for us," Ferguson told MUTV after United were drawn to play the first leg at home. "The only thing you hope is that you don't lose a goal in the home tie." The first legs will be played on April 7 or 8 with the return matches the following week. In semi-finals, United or Porto will play Villarreal or Arsenal and Barcelona or Bayern will meet Liverpool or Chelsea. The semi-finals take place on April 28/ 29 and May 5/6. HEFTY WINS Liverpool, buoyed by Rafa Benitez's contract renewal and great wins over Real Madrid and Manchester United, will play their second leg at Stamford Bridge on April 14, so avoiding having to play on April 15 - the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. Benitez, immensely proud of making Liverpool Europe's most successful team in the last five years despite failing to land the Premier League title, was not so happy with the draw. "To play against an English team is not the best," he said. "To play against Chelsea is not easy." Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink said his players took a break from training to find out who their opponents would be "That's nice, it means the players are looking forward to the big games as well," he told the club's website. "I haven't seen all the games but they are always exciting, very close victories or draws." Of more interest to the neutral would be a Manchester United v Barcelona final in Rome on May 27 and that possibility remained on the cards after the draw kept them apart. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Bayern would not be overawed by facing Barca but he did not underestimate the task. "Coming face-to-face with the best team in Europe at the moment is a terrific challenge," the Bayern boss said. Barca striker Thierry Henry, however, warned that Bayern's 12-1 aggregate trouncing of Sporting in the last 16 showed they were a dangerous side in superb form. "They have players who can make the difference," the French international said, singling out strikers Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose and midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery. "The only thing I didn't want was to have to play against Arsenal," he added. "Having to play a former club is always a strange feeling and one I did not want to have to experience." The honour of facing Arsenal goes to Villarreal, who will look to gain revenge for their painful failure in the 2006 semi-finals, when they lost 1-0 to the English side after Jens Lehmann saved Juan Roman Riquelme's late penalty. ARSENAL FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas Q&A Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas One on One Arsene Wenger, Thierry Henry, Ian Wright Boy's A Bit Special Theo Walcott, Armand Traore Perfect XI Ian Wright What Happened Next? Gus Caesar, Peter Marinello And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan Plus! Rate Arsenal players (and others) on Talentspotter CHELSEA FANS! 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20 March 2009
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