Liverpool enters FA Cup final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Liverpool ended Jose Mourinho's hopes of a first English league and cup double with a 2-1 FA Cup semifinal victory over Chelsea.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Liverpool ended Jose Mourinho's hopes of a first English league and cup double with a 2-1 FA Cup semifinal victory over Chelsea. John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia scored the goals at neutral Old Trafford as Liverpool reached its 13th FA Cup final. The loss left Chelsea coach with the consolation that his team needs just one more point from three matches to capture a second straight Premier League title row. "It hurts like always to miss big matches,'' Mourinho said. Liverpool had defeated Chelsea in last season's Champions League semifinal on the way to becoming European champion for the fifth time. "The good thing is that we have in two weeks time three Premier League matches to be champion,'' Mourinho said. "When the season starts that's always the big target. So, when we are so close to it, I think the it is the best treatment for when you are not happy with a result,'' added Mourinho. Didier Drogba got a goal back for the Blues 20 minutes from the end, but Joe Cole missed a chance in injury time by shooting too high from in front of goal. "In big matches you cannot miss big chances,'' said Mourinho, who has guided Chelsea to Premier League and League Cup triumphs but will have to wait a season for another shot at the FA Cup. Liverpool will play the May 13 final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium against the winner of Sunday's semifinal at Villa Park between West Ham and Middlesbrough. It is chasing a seventh FA Cup title and first since beating Arsenal in 2001. "We are in the final and my players have done a fantastic job,'' Benitez said. Chelsea won four straight league games and last season's League Cup final. Liverpool ousted the Blues from last season's Champions League semifinals, while the teams tied three other European meetings. Though 15 points behind Chelsea in the league standings and back in third place, Liverpool looked sharper than the Blues in the first half, and took the lead in the 21st. Terry penalized Chelsea captain John Terry was penalized for high use of his feet just outside the area. Riise teamed up with Steven Gerrard to set up a shooting chance for the left-footed Norwegian to curl the ball low between Frank Lampard and Paulo Ferreira and past goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini. Mourinho sent on Arjen Robben for the second half and Chelsea's fans thought they were celebrating an equalizer four minutes after restart when Terry jumped to meet the Netherlands forward's free kick, heading past Reina at the far post. However, referee Graham Poll chalked off the goal for a push and Liverpool fans were celebrating two minutes later. Luis Garcia collected the ball from a poor headed clearance by William Gallas. The Spaniard ran clear of the defense to hit a 20-meter (yard) shot past the static Cudicini and into the net to spark wild celebrations. Mourinho sent on Joe Cole and Damien Duff for Hernan Crespo and Gallas. That left him just three defenders and one full-time striker, using six midfielders in an unorthodox move to better a Liverpool midfield which was running the game. But Riise's poor headed clearance put goalkeeper Reina in trouble. He had to leave his line to try and beat Drogba to the ball but the Ivory Coast striker got there first and headed into an empty net in front of the Chelsea fans. Chelsea should have forced extra time when Robben's lob found Cole in front of goal, only for the England midfielder to pull his shot high behind the net. (AP)