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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has upped the ante with Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho ahead of their Champions League semi-final.

Mourinho has already claimed Liverpool will be favourites as they are only in the running for the Champions League, but Benitez responded: “We were good friends until we started winning, then he started changing his mind.

“It’s the same with the managers of the top sides. He has good relationships with managers of teams he beats.

“He fights with the managers of the top sides. He has already started it with us, yesterday!”

Chelsea beat Benitez’s former side Valencia on Tuesday to set up a repeat of the Champions League semi-final of 2005 when Liverpool prevailed before going on to win the tournament.

Mourinho insisted after that revenge will not be his motivation when the sides meet again in a fortnight’s time.

“Revenge is not for me in football or life,” said Mourinho, whose side will be at home for the first leg on 25 May.

“It is a tie where we know we start from behind and why is simple: Liverpool play only in the Champions League and Chelsea plays in the Champions League, Premiership and FA Cup.

“And we have players suspended and on yellow cards. Liverpool is in a very clean situation so I think they start in front of us.”

Benitez noted that Mourinho had achieved success at Chelsea on the back of a lavish expenditure programme.

“Always as a manager you must be confident your team can win, and any Liverpool team will always be confident,” said the Spaniard.

“But we know Chelsea are a very good team, in the last five years they have spent big money on players and they have a very good squad.

“They will be tough. They have spent money for five years, they are in other semi-finals and chasing trophies, that is what they want and have prepared for.

“Yes we only have one trophy to go for, but they would not want to change what they are doing now.”

Benitez also believes that his side have an advantage by playing the second leg at Anfield in a repeat of the semi-final two years ago.

“They may not accept what happened here two years ago, but they cannot change things now,” he added.

“We are pleased we will play the second-leg at Anfield. If we can do something at Stamford Bridge, maybe we will then have the advantage.

“They know that. But playing counter-attack like they did in Valencia shows how dangerous they are in away games.

“Chelsea know us and we know them very well.”

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