AHEAD of tonight’s title showdown, TAW contributors looked back on eight times Liverpool conquered Chelsea at Anfield.
Liverpool 4 Chelsea 2 — October 5, 1997
AH, Paddy Berger.
It’s funny how certain players do well against certain clubs. And Paddy seemed to love ripping apart Chelsea in red.
A year after scoring two as Liverpool had handed the Londoners their arses on a plate with a 5-1 win at Anfield, Paddy went one better with a hat-trick as Roy Evans’ Reds won 4-2 on home turf.
And he even teed up Robbie Fowler for the fourth.
He was a cool finisher, Paddy in his pomp, and that was demonstrated by the first, a lob over the rat-faced Ed De Goey, who was left flailing by the finish.
Gianfranco Zola equalised before a rare right footer from the Czech put the Reds back in front. Berger completed his hat-trick, Fowler finished them off and it was all over just after the hour mark.
Back then, Chelsea had won only one league win at Anfield in 61 years. Sadly, that is a stat that no longer stands.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0 — March 24, 2002
IN injury time, Vladimir Smicer scored to win the game for Liverpool and put them top of the league. They had six games to go. Arsenal had eight. And that was all she wrote.
This is a goal which should be in the pantheon of great last minute Liverpool winners which have gone on to spur success. Instead, it is a goal which stands as one of the great forgotten goals. Smicer had come on at around the half-hour mark and Liverpool had been toiling. Chelsea much the better side, Liverpool hanging in defiantly before taking their reward.
It is such a good goal.
Jari Litmanen does brilliantly to flick it onto Emile Heskey on the left flank. Mario Melchiot doesn’t want to show Heskey inside and instead allows him to run on his left. Heskey sends a very good ball across goal but Smicer’s volley is the very definition of unstoppable, an Exocet missile, unerring, unanswerable. Liverpool are in raptures. Smicer mobbed. The Reds on the march.
Smicer would get the big goal with the big result in Istanbul, but this one should be walked around.
Recently, the current Liverpool manager has spoken about it not being right that his side has to win the Championship for it to be thought of as a good season. He’s right about this. Seasons are about moments and few goals made me as happy as this, feeling as invincible as this. It mattered because Liverpool were still in it.
The moral of the story is being in it. Being in it in April, being in it in May. And then let it hurt should it not happen. Let it provide overwhelming joy should it look like it just might. Being in it creates moments, Liverpool need to create more of them tonight to keep them coming.
May they all strike it like Smicer.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0 — May 3, 2005
I DIDN’T get the chance to go to this game and it might live we me forever. Loads of my mates went, loads say it was the greatest atmosphere they’ve seen at Anfield. The greatest night they’ve had at Anfield.
Liverpool had already claimed a couple of relative scalps to progress to this point. Olympiakos and Gerrard had happened, that made us dream. Bayer Leverkusen battered over the course of two legs. Juventus conquered. It came down to this. Rafa v Jose.
I remember You’ll Never Walk Alone being sung. It’s harder to tell through the telly, but it sounded the loudest it probably ever has. That set the standard. The fans doing their bit, the players left to do theirs.
And it would happen so quick. Chelsea started nervy. Every time they touched the ball, 40,000-plus boos. They didn’t want it.
Gerrard flicked it round the corner, Baros runs on and flicks it up in the air clashing with Petr Cech. John Terry hesitated, letting it bounce but crucially letting Luis Garcia arrive on the scene. His flick hit Terry and moved towards the line. William Gallas tried but you know the rest.
Did it cross the line? I’m not arsed. We deserved all the luck we had got over that run and it led to one of, if not the, greatest nights in Liverpool’s history. The greatest night of my life.
Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0 — January 20, 2007
IN 2005, 2006 and 2007 Liverpool played Chelsea 16 times. Which is mad. No wonder the games were intense. No wonder the rivalry was so fierce. Every game seemed to matter so much.
Liverpool went into this game third in the table but eight points behind Chelsea and even further behind leaders Manchester United. Like tonight, they needed a win to have any pretence of being in a title race.
Chelsea went into the game with defensive problems. Cech was a doubt and they had an injury crisis at centre-half. To make matters worse even their protector Claude Makelele was injured. A team renowned for their solidity was suddenly looking very brittle.
Cech made the game but they had to pick Michael Essien and Paulo Ferreira at centre-half. Jose Mourinho admitted after the game that he was “was waiting for 15 or 20 minutes to go by with no goals conceded and the confidence arriving.”
Liverpool were having absolutely none.
Rafa Benitez picked Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch upfront and went about as direct as you’d ever seen him. The two combined instantly for Kuyt to finish brilliantly. The Reds were relentless. John Arne Riise has a great chance, clean through on six. Then, they all sat off Jermaine Pennant, possibly because it was Jermaine Pennant, and he smashed in a second from outside the box.
Like Rafa’s Liverpool at their very best, Chelsea were beat before they’d even caught their breath.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0 — May 1, 2007
ANOTHER Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. The right way round again, in terms of returning to Anfield in the second leg. That makes a massive difference.
It made a massive difference. This was one of Jose’s greatest ever sides. Class all over the pitch. And they had won the first leg. The Reds didn’t get an away goal but there was still confidence ahead of the second leg. European nights at Anfield, our bread and butter that.
A free-kick on the left hand side, Crouch to aim for in the centre. Instead, Gerrard rolled it toward the edge of the area, catching Chelsea completely unawares. They had barely even turned from their marking positions when Daniel Agger dispatched it, bottom left.
Chances at either end. One of them games that seems to open up and just gets worse the longer it goes on. Until Xabi Alonso hit one from distance, Cech parried and Kuyt finished the rebound. Offside. Except he wasn’t. He was level with Ferreira. Fuck sake.
Penalties, then. Bolo Zenden first, scored. Arjen Robben, saved by Pepe Reina. Alonso, scored. Lampard, scored. Gerrard, scored. Geremi, saved by Reina again. Kuyt to win it — Rafa sat down on the touchline, legs crossed, a picture of calm. Kuyt scored. Tops off.
You can’t describe that feeling. To go from the nerves of a penalty shootout to the sheer elation of seeing the winning penalty hit the back of the net. No words for it.
Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0 — February 1, 2009
SOME parallels with tonight, this. Liverpool had 23 games and 48 points on the board. The Reds readying themselves for Antonio Conte tonight have 45 from 22.
Chelsea then were not quite so strong as Chelsea now but they were no mugs either. A win for the Londoners would have put them ahead of the Reds – and just two points behind leaders Manchester United.
Instead, though, at a time when Rafa was derided for “cracking up” and Liverpool’s squad strength questioned, it was the Reds rising to the occasion to cling on to the Mancs’ coat tails at the top.
Another parallel was the same old questions – could Liverpool, staring at a fifth draw in a row, find a way at home past a packed defence?
This time, eventually, thanks to players prepared to continue to probe late on, they could – Fernando Torres nodding past Cech before sitting cross-legged in front of a wild Kop and adding a second soon after.
The goals came on 89 and 90 minutes against a Chelsea side that had done its damnedest to kick Liverpool off the park. Not this time, boys.
Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0 — November 7, 2010
EVEN under Roy Hodgson.
Even under the supposed leadership of the most ill-suited manager to ever darken Liverpool FC’s door, the Reds were able to raise themselves.
Home games matter. Always. When a team turns up swaggering around, they should be cut down by the men in red. Show them the way to go home.
We were deep in the process of being Hodged; we knew this wasn’t the man to improve the fortunes of our beloved club.
By this time Torres was well on his way to cutting ties. He’d had enough. Broken promises. Bullshit at every turn. He was wearing our colours but it felt like his head had already left the building.
But, for Chelsea’s visit, Liverpool turned it on. They fought. They battled. Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard leading the way in midfield, Martin Kelly impressive at the back, Jamie Carragher tussling with Didier Drogba. And Torres putting in the net. Twice.
Expect the unexpected. It’s why we love footie.
Even under Hodgson.
Liverpool 4 Chelsea 1 — May 8, 2012
RIDICULOUS to the sublime.
Three days after losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea, Liverpool exercised their Wembley demons with a 4-1 demolition of Roberto Di Matteo’s side at Anfield.
The night began with Luis Suarez making an absolute show of somebody, as per. This time it was England’s brave John Terry. Captain. Leader. Bad divvy. The Uruguayan danced past the Chelsea skipper and bounced one in off Essien’s shins, leaving the Ghanaian a contorted mess in the goalmouth with the realisation that he no longer had any business sharing a pitch with elite footballers.
Jordan Henderson scored the second after England’s spirited John Terry this time opted to make an absolute show of *himself*, as he SLIPPED ON HIS FUCKING ARSE allowing the heir to the captain’s armband in to calmly slot past Ross ‘Conor McGregor “who the fuck is that guy” vine’ Turnbull.
Agger made it three from a corner after Andy Carroll made an absolute show of England’s valiant John Terry in the air and the Dane nodded in the second-ball before Jonjo Shelvey completed the rout with an absolute, 10/10 *ping* into an empty net from about 100 yards.
Liverpool 4 Chelsea 1. England’s fearless John Terry. That’s the real quiz.