“Will someone remind Chelsea that they are playing an important match??!!”, I said to myself when Chelsea were 3-0 down with the worst defending (till now I have seen) from Terry and Ivanovic -the spine of Chelsea. Attacking was never-the-less poor with only Torres going forward and Sturridge trying to prove a point, but in the end was very dull throughout the game and was later substituted for Lukaku who is threatening to leave Stamford Bridge this summer at loan.
Chelsea will have to win the Champions League final if they are to compete in next season’s edition after a 4-1 defeat by Liverpool on Tuesday ended their hopes of a top four Premier League finish. England’s top four clubs will enter next term’s Champions League unless Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the German club’s ground in the final on May 19. If Chelsea win, it will deprive the team in fourth of a place in the preliminary round.
This defeat meant the top four was beyond the reach of Chelsea, who will now finish in sixth spot, as it left them five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with just three on offer for beating already relegated Blackburn in their final league match of the season on Sunday.
A Michael Essien own-goal, composed Jordan Henderson finish and neat Daniel Agger header gave Liverpool a 3-0 lead before Stewart Downing wasted a penalty. Ramires made it 3-1 just after the break but Liverpool were in control, confirmed when Shelvey capped a fine display with a wonderful strike from 30 yards.
“We’ve had very intense games and to get yourself up for all those has been a big demand. I thought tonight fresh legs would give us a better chance.”
“We’ve got a game on Sunday and we want to finish our last game well to go into the Champions League final in a positive mood.” Di Matteo
For Liverpool fans, the game unfolded with a feeling of what might have been in the FA Cup final had Carroll started. He began here as he finished at Wembley, scaring John Terry with his persistence, also linking well with Suarez. Liverpool’s attacking, bringing three goals in nine minutes, was assisted by some wretched defending by Chelsea and Terry in particular. Suarez had already nutmegged Terry once even before the goal-rush. The goals began to flow after 20 minutes. Suarez drove in from the right, totally embarrassing Terry with the most elegant and quickly-executed of nutmegs. The Uruguayan cut the ball back from the byline, hitting Michael Essien and cannoning into the net. The announcer credited the score to Suarez but it was clearly an own-goal off Essien. The pain continued. Terry looked a ghost, soon nutmegged again, this time by Carroll, and responding by fouling the Liverpool striker. Terry was booked, and his evening deteriorated three minutes later. He was again bamboozled by the swift movement and passing of Liverpool, this time Maxi Rodriguez releasing Henderson through the middle. Running on to Maxi’s pass, he glided through the middle and placed the ball with a touch of fade around Ross Turnbull and in. Chelsea’s defence was breached again 3 minutes later. Shelvey whipped in a corner from the left, Carroll again lost Terry and headed back past Turnbull for the stooping Agger to provide the coup de grace. Liverpool were rampant, Chelsea playing like complete strangers, seemingly operating an open-door policy. Stewart Downing unleashed a marvellous dipping shot that clipped the bar and went harmlessly into the crowd. Downing should have had his first goal for Liverpool, when he was instructed to take a penalty in the final minutes of half time. Refree -Kevin Friend had awarded the kick after Branislav Ivanovic had thrown his elbow back, catching Carroll in the chest, and was also booked. Downing drove his penalty against the left post while Turnbull to the right.
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS (IN HD):
Chelsea were stunned, as their hopes of making the top four had largely ebbed anyway. Any visiting Bayern Munich scouts will not have learned much from Chelsea’s starting XI as only Essien, possibly Paulo Ferreira, at a push Fernando Torres, could conceivably begin the Champions League final. Essien was poor in central midfield, Ferreira was soon cautioned for catching Suarez while Torres was roundly booed on his first return to Anfield. Chelsea still had a few chances though, Ivanovic headed a Malouda corner against the post; Torres rolled back the years in front of the Kop, controlling the ball, darting into the box and crashing a shot off the underside bar. Chelsea made a fight of this after 50 minutes, when Malouda bent in a free-kick from the right, Ramires responded quickest, racing towards the ball which hit his stomach and flew past the struggling Pepe Reina to settle a score of 3-1. Any idea of a comeback was brutally ended on the hour. Turnbull made a shocking clearance, clearing the ball straight to Shelvey. The young midfielder’s response was majestic, he drilled the ball first time into the empty net.
Di Matteo sent on Romelu Lukaku, who immediately wasted a glorious opportunity. When Ramires clipped over the most inviting of balls, Lukaku headed straight at Reina from a point-blank range. Liverpool kept attacking. Glen Johnson swept in a cross that Carroll knocked wide. With time running out, Liverpool introduced 17-year-old Raheem Sterling while Maxi Rodriguez appeared to wave goodbye to fans when he was substituted in the closing stages.
- Terry tormented and Torres teased in Liverpool rout (espn.co.uk)
- Liverpool 4-1 Chelsea: Shelvey goal caps comprehensive victory as Reds make Terry, Turnbull and Co. suffer at Anfield (goal.com)
- Four-star Reds batter Blues (skysports.com)
- Terry-ble: Chelsea crushed at Liverpool (Suarez gets away with slapping Ivanovic) (101greatgoals.com)
- Liverpool v Chelsea – live! (guardian.co.uk)