- English Barclays Premier League
- 8 May 2012, 7:00pm
- Attendance: 40,721
FULL TIME:A sound whipping for Chelsea's much-changed line-up ahead of the Champions League final a week on Saturday, but a heartening way for Liverpool to end a pretty dreadful season at Anfield. The game was won in a barmy first half, and although Chelsea briefly threatened a revival, Turnbull's mistake and Shelvey's rocket into the empty net ensured a measure of revenge for the Reds' FA Cup final defeat last Saturday. Chelsea will now finish sixth, Liverpool will battle it out on Sunday to try to avoid finishing lower than Everton for only the second time in 25 seasons.
90+2 mins: Almost five! Carroll's whipped ball into the centre is met by the diving Agger, but it slides off his forehead and a couple of yards wide.
90 mins: Lovely link-up play between Kuyt and Suarez but the Uruguayan is slightly off balance as he receives it for a second time eight yards out and skews his shot wide.
89 mins: Henderson's fierce drive is deflected off Bertrand and just wide for a corner. Suarez takes it, plays it back to Shelvey and his effort is charged down by Terry.
86 mins: ""What a fine example to kids"? Would you shake hands with someone who hit you in the face? Or would you want your kid to shake hands with someone who hit them?" says Chris in Manchester. Fair point. I meant the whole incident really, with both elbowing and clonking each other, then the faking injury (he got up prett quickly after all), then the handshake refusal. All rather unpleasant, don't you think?
85 mins: Immediate chance for the nipper Sterling! Suarez's flick-on drops for him left of goal but he wellies the chance high into the Kop. That would have lifted the roof off!
84 mins: A couple of subs for Liverpool - Maxi Rodriguez waves goodbye in probably his last Liverpool appearance as he goes off for Dirk Kuyt. Stewart Downing also goes off for youngster Raheem Sterling.
83 mins: Suarez's ambitious crack at goal from a 25-yard free kick is blocked by the Chelsea wall. Down the other end, a similar situation sees Essien take a shot, but it's high and not very handsome.
80 mins: Liverpool break quickly and work an overlap for Downing, right of goal. If he had a right foot on him he would have taken a shot, but he hasn't so tries to cut inside, the momentum is lost, he tries a backheel to Suarez but it's intercepted.
76 mins: There's some rancour between Ivanovic and Suarez by the corner flag. There were arms and elbows all over the place as they tussled for the ball, Ivanovic goes down holding his face, Suarez was contrite but the Serbian refused his offer of a handshake.
74 mins: Fine chance for Carroll as the ball is fed in low from the right. He only needs to connect cleanly with his favoured left peg but slices it horribly wide. Such is the feeling of joie de vivre at Anfield tonight that the usual groans are replaced by a chant of 'One Andy Carroll...'.
73 mins: What a chance for Lukaku! Ramires barges into the box, right of goal, reaches the byline and backheels for Malouda. He chips into the centre for Lukaku who is unmarked five yards out and needs only to head past Reina, surely? Nope. The Spaniard pulls off a brilliant instinctive save.
71 mins: Agger receives a yellow for a crude 'scissors' tackle on Ramires, missing the ball and wiping him out completely.
69 mins: Chelsea have changed to a 4-4-2 with Lukaku pushing up front alongside Torres. Chelsea weave some pretty patterns briefly, but Ramires' cross is claimed easily by Reina.
67 mins: Roberto Di Matteo has seen enough. On comes Romelu Lukaku for Sturridge.
65 mins: Henderson is the first Liverpool player to be booked, for a slightly mistimed challenge.
63 mins: Carroll fails to execute a bicycle kick but he's actually had a good game tonight. The Kop are singing his name and spirits are buoyant around Anfield.
60 mins: SHELVEY MAKES IT FOUR!! Oh dear. It's a howler from Turnbull, but Shelvey cashes in brilliantly. The stand-in Blues keeper, from wide of his goal, shanks his clearance left-footed straight down the middle of the pitch. Shelvey still has a lot to do, firstly to control an awkward bounce, then to fire into the gaping goal from about 50 yards. He connects with his shot beautifully, arrowing it high into the net. Game over, you'd have thought.
58 mins: It's been no less frantic in the second half so far, but chances not quite so regular. Johnson embarks on the sort of run that saw him score at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, but Chelsea usher him wide this time and his cross is hacked away by Terry.
55 mins: Torres is being booed every time he touches the ball, so in total he's been booed about eight times. Apart from hitting the bar (Jamie in Hull, take note) he's been peripheral. As I type, Essien drags a hopeless left-footed shot miles wide.
53 mins: Romeu's sloppy pass gifts Liverpool possession on the edge of the Chelsea box. It's Skrtel, of all people, who is fed left of goal in the box. He skips inside one challenge, shoots from a tight angle but it's blocked by the legs of Turnbull.
50 mins: CHELSEA HAVE ONE BACK! The visitors win a free kick right of goal on the angle of the box. Malouda whips it in towards a heavily occupied area on the six yard line, Ramires gets the final touch and although the ball strikes Reina he can't keep it out and it rolls rather apologetically inside the near post. Do we have a comeback on the cards?
48 mins: Downing's penetrating cross is met by Carroll who nods it back across the face, but Terry stretches to poke it away with Suarez ready to pounce just behind him.
46 mins: We're ready to resume on Merseyside after that rather astonishing first half. Jamie in Hull says: "Chelsea have only hit the woodwork once not twice sort yourself man ha ha" Erm, Torres' shot against the bar and Ivanovic's header against the post. Do the math, my friend!
HALF TIME:Truly sensational stuff. Chelsea's makeshift side has been run ragged, Terry's having a shocker, Liverpool have knocked in three, missed a penalty and hit the bar. Come to think of it, Chelsea have hit the woodwork twice themselves. For a so-called 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' post FA Cup final comedown, this has been a cracker of a game so far! Stay tuned to see if the carnage will continue.
45+2 mins: DOWNING'S HIT THE POST! Downing is allowed to take the penalty, presumably so he can break his Premier League duck for the Reds. However, the drought goes on for him. He sends Turnbull the wrong way, but the ball pings back off the left-hand post and rebounds beyond the reach of Carroll.
45+1 mins: PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Henderson chips a floaty cross in towards Carroll beyond the far post, Ivanovic spots the striker just behind him and blocks his jump, sticking an elbow in for good measure. Down goes Carroll, 'penalty' says Kevin Friend. And a booking for Ivanovic too...
45 mins: Torres wins a corner for Chelsea, but when Malouda delivers it, Carroll leaps highest to power a header away from danger. Two minutes of injury time to come.
44 mins: Really, really dreadful challenge from Essien on Carroll, flying in with both feet and dragging his studs down the back of the striker's calf. He's booked.
42 mins: Oooooh! A thrilling strike from Downing! After a nod down from Suarez, the ball sits up nicely for the winger to have a crack. It looks good ("It's DIPPPIIING!" shouts Martin Tyler) but doesnt dip quite enough and flicks the top of the bar. Liverpool's 'hit woodwork' tally for the season ticks up yet further.
39 mins: Chelsea players seem to be slipping over and over-committing all over the place. Every time Liverpool attack they look like scoring. It may be a good job Terry's banned for the Champions League final on this evidence.
37 mins: Shelvey over-runs the ball and it's nicked by Ramires. Chelsea have three on two momentarily but don't make the most of it. Sturridge tries a stepover to gain half a yard on Henderson but the midfielder tracks him, slides in and concedes a corner. Well defended.
35 mins:Torres hits the bar! He makes the chances for himself with an arcing run into the box. The angle seems to tight for him, right of goal, but he smacks a beauty of a shot that fizzes past Reina, against the underside of the bar and out again.
34 mins: Terry is skinned yet again! From a long ball, Carroll turns him and is away down the right. No-one closes Carroll down, seemingly inviting him to shoot, but Turnbull tips it away. Not a brilliant finish by the Geordie.
31 mins: Great save by Turnbull! Suarez feeds Rodriguez in the area left of goal. Quick feet see him evade his marker, Turnbull comes out but just as it seems Rodriguez has taken it past him and is preparing to shoot from a tight angle, the keeper recovers, sticks out a glove and concedes a corner.
28 mins: THREE! IT'S COMPLETE CARNAGE!! In comes a corner from the left, Carroll knocks it back across goal and Agger stoops to head it over the line. So, so simple. Chelsea reserves are in disarray and Liverpool are going to avoid the ignominy of recording their lowest number of league home wins in a season since 1948.
28 mins: Another lapse at the back from Chelsea. Suarez has more time than he realised and tries a lobbed pass to Downing when really he could have had a shot. Turnbull claws the ball away form a corner. From it, Suarez again has too much room but lobs the ball on to the roof of the net.
25 mins: HENDERSON MAKES IT TWO!!!Terry is having a *nightmare* tonight. Maxi Rodriguez slides a ball up to Henderson. Terry seems to have the situation under control until he totally loses his footing and, in the blink of an eye, Henderson is clean through. He has plenty of time for the nerves to set in, but produces a cool side-footed finish past Tunrbull and into the bottom corner.
23 mins: Wally in West Yorkshire says: "With Chelsea still attempting 4th spot do you think they're now focusing more on actually winning the Champs League rather than finishing above Newcastle? Surely this is a risk RDM cant take, especially seeing as he hasnt been offered the job. Imagine that Chelsea in the Europa..." Well Wally, there's no other conclusion to come to is there? You don't make eight changes in a game you're focusing fully on winning, do you?
21 mins: Terry is nutmegged again! This time it's Carroll with the dainty footwork, Terry realises the lanky Geordie has got away from him and sticks his arm out to rugby tackle him. He's rightly booked.
19 mins: LIVERPOOL LEAD!! It will go down as an Essien own goal but all the credit goes to Luis Suarez. Picking the ball up from a throw-in, he beats two lunging challenges as he dances along the byline. The angle is far too tight for a shot, but there's nobody supporting him in the six yard box. As he gets closer to the near post he dinks it across the face of goal, the ball hits Essien and rebounds into the net from two yards out.
17 mins: Ivanovic hits the post! Deary me, awful defending from Liverpool. Sturridge's snapshot is firstly deflected wide for a corner. When it comes in, nobody is anywhere near Ivanovic. He should score really but bullets his free header against the inside of the post and the rebound is scrambled clear.
15 mins: A long punt from Reina is cleverly hooked back to Carroll by Suarez. He has a shooting chance from 25 yards but tries a delicate curler which loops over the bar. Delicacy is not really Carroll's forte is it?
15 mins: Ferreira is booked for a very late trip on Suarez.
13 mins: Liverpool looking the hungrier side early on. Chelsea showing very little cohesion or attacking intent - understandable with this makeshift line-up. Suarez's ball into the area is misdirected and Henderson is barged off the ball rather easily by Bertrand.
11 mins: Liverpool keep the ball tidily enough without gaining much territory. It's quiet.
8 mins: First chance of the game. Suarez nutmegs Terry 30 yards from goal and drives forward into space. He takes his shot first time, but fizzes it quite some distance wide of the post.
6 mins: Shelvey's shin clonked into the back of Malouda's head as he lay on the ground, which is what caused the Frenchman's pain. He's not happy about it, presumably accusing Shelvey of doing it deliberately. Kevin Friend takes no action.
5 mins: Loud boos every time Torres touches the ball. Well, I say 'every time', he's only actually touched it once so far. Essien and Malouda have both collapses to the floor in agony in this first five minutes.
3 mins: Shelvey slides in Downing in acres of room down the right for Liverpool. He chips in a hanging cross but Suarez is penalised for some off-the-ball argy bargy.
2 mins: Bertrand is caught by a high foot from Henderson but the youngster will survive and no card is issued by Kevin Friend.
0 mins: We're off. Chelsea get the game under way, shooting towards the Kop.
1955: Evening all. This game hasn't got much to recommend it, I'm afraid. Chelsea still have the whiff of fourth spot, but their line-up indicates they've pretty much given up on overhauling Spurs and Newcastle. We're reduced to searching for sub-plots and the first return of Fernando Torres to Anfield is a pretty decent one. So is the fact that Liverpool need to win to prevent an ingominious club record. If they don't get three points here it will be their lowest number of home league wins in a season since 1948.
A smattering of your pre-match musings then: "Liverpool to win 1 nil. Revenge for sat (fa cup final) and score a contraversal goal. (the ref will give this 1, he should of gave the 2nd goal on sat. It was IN." says Ste. Gary in Newcastle adds: "I think liverpool will win 2nite 2-1 with carrol first and if chelsea get beat 2nite i win a bet with a workmate cause newcastle will get 5th spot." Meanwhile, John Crocker in Scarborough is in confrontational mood: "3-0 Chelsea. The foreign scouse cheats have no heart or motivation. Just like saturday dreaming of holidays. Print your own money and pile onto Chelsea. Next pool boss - Di Mattio."
Team news: Roberti Di Matteo makes EIGHT changes from Saturday's team at Wembley. The only players to remain from the FA Cup final are John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires, all of whom are banned for the Champions League final.
Kenny Dalglish makes four changes from the FA Cup final line-up. Andy Carroll comes in for Craig Bellamy, while Maxi Rodriguez, Jonjo Shelvey and Jamie Carragher also play in preference to Jose Enrique, Steven Gerrard and Jay Spearing. Both line-ups are below.
Before kick off, text your predictions and any other words of wisdom to tonight's commentator Mike Dale by using the boxes on the right.
- English Barclays Premier League
- 8 May 2012, 7:00pm
- Attendance: 40,721
Liverpool beat Chelsea 4-1 at Anfield on Tuesday as the Blues' bid to finish in the top four of this season's Premier League came to an end.
Kenny Dalglish's side were as energetic and irresistible in the first half as they had been lethargic and wasteful for an hour of Saturday's FA Cup final defeat at Wembley.
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo had virtually accepted his side could not qualify for the Champions League with a top-four place by naming an understrength team with eight changes from Saturday, with his sights now set on a Champions League final.
But even if he had put out the side who did so well for 60 minutes on Saturday it is debatable whether they would have been able to resist as the Reds scored four in the league for the first time since the 5-2 win at Fulham a year and a day ago.
The hosts raced into a 3-0 first-half lead through a Michael Essien own goal, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger while Stewart Downing also missed a penalty.
Ramires pulled one back just after the break but Jonjo Shelvey restored the three-goal cushion.
Liverpool's shirt sponsors Standard Chartered swapped their logo for Seeing is Believing, one of the bank's initiatives for fighting avoidable blindness, but fans must have been questioning what they witnessed with their own eyes in the first half.
The accusation levelled at Dalglish's side on Saturday was that they did not turn up until it was too late.
That was far from the case in front of their own fans as they were 3-0 up inside half-an-hour and should have been even further ahead by the interval.
Luis Suarez's nutmeg on John Terry served as an early warning, the Uruguay international dragging a shot wide, while Andy Carroll's decision to opt for placement rather than power saw his shot drop over the crossbar.
The woodwork has been Liverpool's downfall this season but they enjoyed a let-off themselves in the 17th minute when Branislav Ivanovic planted a free header against the post at a corner.
But in an eight-minute spell the hosts virtually put the game out of sight with three goals almost from nowhere.
First Suarez produced a brilliant run from wide on the right to get to the byline and his cut-back was turned in by Essien.
A slip from Terry put Henderson through on goal to curl a low shot past Ross Turnbull and then, in the 28th minute, Carroll headed down a corner for Agger to nod in from close range.
But a familiar foe returned again as Downing's 30-yard dipping volley struck the crossbar before the England winger drilled a penalty at the post late in the half after Ivanovic had been punished for knocking over Carroll.
Spot-kicks have also been an issue for the Reds with that the fifth out of six in the league which has gone begging this season, with others also missed in their runs to two cup finals.
Chelsea briefly got themselves back in the game five minutes after half-time when Florent Malouda's inswinging free-kick was turned in by Ramires five minutes after the break.
But the hosts did not back down and, if anything upped the pressure, which led to their fourth.
An out-of-position Turnbull mis-kicked straight into the path of Shelvey 30 yards out and he drilled a shot into an empty net.
Dalglish was criticised for leaving Carroll out of the starting line-up for the cup final despite the 23-year-old noticeably improving over the last six weeks in particular.
The club's record signing has had to work hard to not only impress his manager but fans and he must have had a smile on his face after receiving a standing ovation simply for chasing the ball deep into the corner to ensure Chelsea received only a throw in.
It is not what £35million strikers are paid to do but it was greatly appreciated by the majority of the 40,721 at Anfield.
So was the save by Jose Reina, who by his own admission has had a poor season and was at fault for Chelsea's opening goal at Wembley, when he brilliantly denied substitute Romelu Lukaku's header from close range.
Liverpool's onslaught continued late on with Henderson, Suarez and Agger all putting efforts wide but the job had been done in the first half.
Di Matteo will now focus on the Champions League final. Dalglish, still to lose a league match against Chelsea in 12 meetings as manager, will already be looking at summer strengthening to catch up with their Blue rivals.