Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes that Chelsea will do their utmost to stop Steven Gerrard in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday evening.

The Spanish tactician says that the Blues realise the Reds captains’ importance and ability, and they therefore may try to stifle him from having an imposing effect on the game.

“It is very difficult to stop Stevie when he is at his best but we have to remember who we are up against,” Benitez is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“We are facing a team packed with very good players and maybe it will present a different test for Stevie.

“If the likes of Michael Essien, Michael Ballack or Frank Lampard are on top of their game, they will take some stopping.

“We all value Stevie’s contribution very highly and the fact that we have signed him up on a long-term contract shows we are doing our job properly.

“But make no mistake, he has got a challenge on his hands against this Chelsea team.”