Thursday, 24 April 2008

Riise vows to come back stronger

Liverpool's John Arne Riise says he will bounce back after his own goal gifted Chelsea a 1-1 draw in their Champions League semi-final, first leg.

Riise's injury-time error cancelled out Dirk Kuyt's opener and has given the Blues the advantage with an away goal.

But the 27-year-old told Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang: "I've learned it's the way you hit back that matters.

"Mentally, I am the best. I've got my head back in place after a heavy night. I'm going to learn from this."

Substitute Riise had come on in the 61st minute following an injury to Fabio Aurelio.

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The Norwegian re-lived what happened when he headed a Salomon Kalou cross into his own goal deep into stoppage time at Anfield.

"I decided to stoop and head the ball in the direction it came from," Riise explained.

"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."

It looks as though he will have the chance to avenge his error in the second leg as Aurelio is out for two weeks with a abductor muscle injury.

And captain Steve Gerrard has given Riise words of encouragement ahead of the return encounter at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Gerrard said: "John has been here a long time and done great things for this club and as captain I cannot point any fingers.

"But we've got to get John's head right, because he will have an important job to play next week."

Riise, who has been linked with a move to Newcastle, added he was hopeful of staying at Liverpool beyond next year when his contract expires.

"I hope and still believe in a new contract with Liverpool," he said.

"But I cannot say definitely that I have a future here when I only have one year left of my deal and haven't heard anything from the club yet."

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