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Liverpool, Chelsea in Champions League quarters

LIVERPOOL charged into the Champions League quarterfinal with a 4-0 victory over Real Madrid yesterday and Chelsea went through after drawing 2-2 with Juventus.

Bayern Munich, already 5-0 up from the away leg, brushed aside Sporting Lisbon 7-1 at home to complete an overwhelming 12-1 aggregate triumph and Villarreal won 2-1 at Panathinaikos to advance 3-2 overall.

Already 1-0 up from the away leg, five-time champion Liverpool reached the last eight with a 5-0 aggregate victory. After an early strike by Fernando Torres, two goals by Steven Gerrard and a late fourth by Andrea Dossena gave Liverpool an impressive score against a side which has won European soccer's biggest club title a record nine times but had its heaviest defeat since the competition became known as the Champions League in 1993.

"The most important thing for me was to win the game and book our place in the last eight and it was a fantastic team performance," said Gerrard, whose first goal was a penalty.

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who has often been linked with a move to Real Madrid, was happy that his team shrugged off its slide in the Premier League and produced one of its best performances of the season.

"The players knew what do to. It was very good," he said. "We could maybe have scored more, we created a lot of chances and played with a real passion."

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in London, Juventus equalized after 19 minutes in Turin through Vincenzo Iaquinta. But Michael Essien, back to full fitness and starting for the first time in six months after a serious knee injury, replied for Chelsea to make Juve's task even harder.

Juve had defender Giorgio Chiellini sent off for his second yellow card in the 71st and even Alessandro Del Piero's 74th minute penalty wasn't enough because Chelsea had an away goal and Didier Drogba's 83rd minute strike made sure.

Drogba said that Juventus's first goal helped Chelsea decide what tactics to play.

"We didn't really know what to do, if we should attack or not, so we played counter-attacking football," the striker said. "When they scored, we decided to play our game so I think it was a good thing they scored.

"You always want to start out to win the game, but at some point it was difficult to take a decision and I think the goal really helped us."

Two strikes by Lukas Podolski in the first 34 minutes and an own goal by Anderson Polga in the 39th increased Bayern's overall advantage to 8-0 in Munich before Sporting replied through Joao Moutinho.

Bastian Schweinsteiger added another for the Bundesliga champion before halftime and Mark Van Bommel, a penalty by Miroslav Klose and a late goal by Thomas Mueller made it seven on the night.

"We wanted to show from the start who is the boss here," Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann said. "We didn't want to allow any sloppiness and to let them score first. I think they noticed that. We took the game seriously and we had a lot of fun."

Panathinaikos and Villarreal kicked off level at 1-1 in Athens before Ariel Ibagaza gave the visiting Spaniards a 49th minute lead. Vangelis Mantzios equalized in the 55th but Joseba Llorente's 70th minute strike for Villarreal put his team through to the last eight.

"It was a tough game and a tough place to play but the timing of our goals was ideal," Ibagaza said. "The game was pretty balanced. We didn't make the most of our chances in the last game - this time it was better."

Today's first leg matches includes another meeting of Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho as last year's winner Manchester United hosts Italian champion Inter Milan in a matchup of two current domestic league leaders.

Mourinho won back-to-back English league titles with Chelsea before Ferguson's United took over again with two in two. But the Portuguese coach is well ahead of the Scot in head-to-head meetings as they meet at Old Trafford with the two teams level after a 0-0 draw at San Siro.

Arsenal goes to AS Roma 1-0 ahead but FC Porto and Atletico Madrid are level at 2-2 and Barcelona is 1-1 with Lyon.


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