John Arne Riise needs to erase the memory of the disastrous own goal, which gave Liverpool a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the first leg of the semifinals of the Champions League semifinals. The Liverpool fullback from Norway headed a ball into his own goal in the 95th minute of the game, which game Chelsea a precious away goal.
Liverpool head coach Rafael Benitez has urged Riise to make up for his late mistake. It has been conformed that Riise will start for Liverpool when they play at Samford Bridge, Chelsea’s home pitch, next week. Liverpool fullback Fabio Aurelio will miss the game due to injury. In the first leg Riise came substituted for Aurelio in the second half and it turns out he has a torn abductor muscle.
Riise recently spoke about the goal saying, “What can I say? I decided to stoop and head the ball in the direction it came from. But it was a swerving cross, the ball was wet, and it slid right off my forehead. It was a shock to see it lying in the goal. These things happen for defenders from time to time. I know how strong I am mentally and I will handle this and I will come back from an own goal like that. I have been involved in tougher things in my life than this and I know that I will handle this in a good way. I will try to turn this around to something positive.”
Benitez said he has talked with Riise about the late goal saying, “I have talked with John, and told him not to keep thinking about the own goal all of the time. He must come- back and be ready. Fabio will be out for three weeks, so Riise knows he has to be ready and give everything for us. The best solution would be for him to score at Stamford Bridge… in the right goal. If Riise scores the winning goal then that will be perfect for us.”
Scoring at Samford Bridge next week will be no easy task, but Riise has scored many clutch goals for Liverpool in his time with the team. However he is currently going through a goal-scoring drought, as he has not found the back of the net for more than a year. If he does score, or at least Liverpool wins, Riise will be forgiven but if they lose, especially if Riise goal in the difference maker, they will be talking about the own goal in Liverpool for quite a long time.
Benitez went on to say, “He is really down, but the only way to change the situation is to score in the right net at Stamford Bridge. He knows that Fabio is injured, so he knows he will get his opportunities to play. He has scored lots of goals over a long time, and played a lot of matches for this club, so I am really disappointed for anyone but especially for him. He has played so well for this club, so for that to happen in the last seconds is the worst thing possible.”