Kop bust-up! Diego Costa and Jordan Henderson pulled apart as rivalry ramps up

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The duo clashed as they continued a heated spat which had been ignited on the pitch towards the end of Tuesday's 1-1 Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg stalemate. source: express.co.uk

No punches were thrown, but witnesses to the spat said there was pushing and shoving and a verbal exchange between the rivals.

A member of the Anfield club's backroom staff intervened to defuse the situation.

Chelsea striker Costa had gone head-to-head with Henderson after the Liverpool midfielder, who finished the game wearing the captain's armband following the substitution of Steven Gerrard, had tangled with Cesc Fabregas and appeared to push him over.

Henderson stood his ground and referee Martin Atkinson stepped in to speak to both players at the time.

But the argument escalated after the final whistle as the opponents made their way to their respective dressing rooms following the draw which leaves next week's return showdown at Stamford Bridge finely poised.

The rumpus will bring extra spice to that game and add another level of intrigue to a rivalry between two sides that refuses to be extinguished.

Costa arrived in England with a history of having a short fuse and has been booked nine times, although has yet to see red, while Henderson will take over the Liverpool armband on a permanent basis when Gerrard moves to LA Galaxy in the summer.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes home advantage will swing the tie in the favour of his side as he prepares for a straight shoot-out to reach Wembley.

"If Stamford Bridge can give us 25 per cent of the emotion Anfield gives Liverpool, we can do it," said Mourinho.

"Liverpool, instead of 40,000 fans, they will have five or 10 [thousand]. Chelsea, instead of 1,000, will have 40,000. I hope that can make a difference in the atmosphere.

"It was a two-leg semi-final, now it's a one-leg semi-final. That says a lot. Two legs is difficult, Anfield is difficult, and with this result we transform a two-leg semi-final into a one-leg semi-final at Stamford Bridge."

Mourinho will continue his juggling act with his two world-class goalkeepers by bringing Petr Cech back for FA Cup action on Saturday.

The Czech was dropped for the Liverpool tie and =first-choice Thibaut Courtois produced a superb performance.

Cech had been replaced by the young Belgian despite excellent performances and clean sheets in the three games while Courtois, who told at the start of the season he would play in all the big games, was sidelined by a thumb fracture.

Cech will return for Saturday's FA Cup clash with Leage One Bradford, but will probably be left out again for the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool next Tuesday.

After that comes the titanic Premier League showdown with title rivals Manchester City at Stamford Bridge - when again it is likely that Cech will be the man to sit out.

Sources close to Cech last night suggested he knows Mourinho is keeping both his two goalkeepers on their toes and will continue to chop and change.

With Mark Schwarzer having left for Leicester Cech will not be allowed to go anywhere in this transfer window, but a departure in the summer is now a certainty, with Paris St Germain, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal all interested.

Yet Courtois admits he is feeling the pressure of having a top-class rival like Cech on his shoulder.

"He is behind me and pushing me. In training we are working hard and at a really high level," he said.

"Petr is a top goalkeeper and I have to play well to continue to play.

"We are not busy being against each other, though. We just want to help the team. That's the important thing.

"I was not 100 per cent fit last week. I still had pain in my thumb and it's not good to play if you know you can't help the team at the fullest.

"We have another top keeper who was there to play so the thinking was about the team. I was good to play on Tuesday.

"With the little protection I wear, I don't feel anything. I have no pain in the thumb now."

Chelsea led on Tuesday through Eden Hazard's penalty, only for England striker Raheem Sterling to level the scores. But it was a string of fine saves from Courtois that ensured the draw for Mourinho's side.

Courtois said: "The draw is a good result. It could have been worse.

"Now the second leg will be like a final, in front of our fans we have to be able to win.

"Our record at Stamford Bridge gives us confidence. We are strong at home but every game is difficult.

"Liverpool have been playing well and are dangerous. It will be tough but we are able to do more at home - we have to win that game."

Chelsea are still in the hunt for four trophies this season, and Courtois believes collecting the first piece of silverware, in the shape of the Capital One Cup with over three months of the campaign remaining, will help them win the rest.

He said: "If you win a final, you get that feeling to win trophies and you want to win more and more.

"That feeling is in the whole group. You want to win everything, starting with the League Cup. It will be difficult but we have the team to do it."

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