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Swinging Blues

Chelsea have another chance to show off their new expansive style on Wednesday when AS Roma visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.

sports Updated: Oct 21, 2008 23:01 IST

Chelsea have another chance to show off their new expansive style on Wednesday when AS Roma visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League.

In the short time that Luiz Felipe Scolari has been in charge, the Brazilian has gone a long way to doing what both his predecessors failed at — win over the neutrals.

Gone is the siege mentality adopted by Jose Mourinho while the dour Avram Grant era is fast fading.

Scolari has been charm personified since taking one of the toughest jobs in British football and his side, flying at the top of the Premier League, are playing with a smile rather than ruthless efficiency.

The 5-0 victory at Middlesbrough on Saturday, completed with a long list of absentees, was a master class in passing and movement that sent alarm bells ringing.

Frank Lampard said it was the best performance for a long time, while skipper John Terry spoke of the different philosophy that Scolari has brought to west London.

In the first two years after Jose Mourinho took over we had a strong mentality where we'd go to places and shut up shop to get the three points," Terry said in the Daily Telegraph.

“Now we're eager to really push on and get that second goal and kill the game.

“It’s very enjoyable to play under him.”

No Torres, but Reds confident

It was to be Fernando Torres' emotional return to his beloved Atletico Madrid but injury means the Liverpool striker misses out on Wednesday's Champions League Group D match.

Both teams have a maximum six points after overcoming group opponents Marseille and PSV Eindhoven, and a win for either Liverpool or Atletico would almost guarantee a spot in the knockout stage.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard expects a tough game in a hostile atmosphere but said it would not faze the seasoned European campaigners.

"Atletico are a dangerous team. They have built well over the last two seasons and certainly spent their money well," Gerrard said.

"Speaking to our Spanish lads, Fernando Torres and the other boys, they tell me the atmosphere can be electric there. But we have proved over the last few years in Europe what a good side we are."

Liverpool, unbeaten in the league, will have their most potent striking weapon looking on from the sidelines after Torres sustained a hamstring injury on international duty with Spain last Wednesday.

The 24-year-old came through the ranks at Atletico before a 32-million-euro move to Liverpool in 2007.

Barcelona meet their makers

After years of inspiring football fans around the world, FC Barcelona will on Wednesday face a Swiss club which claims to have been the inspiration behind the creation of the Spanish giants.

Swiss champions FC Basel have organised an exhibition at their stadium museum ahead of the Champions League Group C encounter, showing how businessman and former Basel player Hans Gamper migrated to Spain before founding FC Barcelona in 1899.

According to legend, Gamper may even have based Barcelona's striking half red, half blue team strip on Basel's near identical colours which had been in use since the Swiss club's own founding six years earlier.

"Sadly there is no historical document proving that Barcelona's shirts were based on FC Basel's, but the circumstantial evidence is quite compelling," Swiss Sport Museum collection leader Hans-Dieter Gerber said.


First Published: Oct 21, 2008 22:58 IST