Liverpool (Torres 6′) 1-3 Chelsea (Ivanovic 39′, 62′, Drogba 67′)
Stadium: Anfield Stadium, England
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Quarterfinals, First Leg
Date: 8 April 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 14:45 ET
Chelsea thoroughly outplayed Liverpool and picked up a huge victory at Anfield to leave Liverpool teetering on the brink of elimination! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments below!
Hatfields v. McCoys. Yankees v. Red Sox. Liam Gallagher v. Noel Gallagher. Some rivalries never get old.
Well, you can add Liverpool v. Chelsea in the Champions League to that list. The two teams will meet in the Champions League for the fifth consecutive season. Liverpool had dominated their Premiership rival, but Chelsea got the last laugh last season, eliminating Liverpool in extra time en route to the Finals.
Liverpool have had their way with Chelsea this season, winning at Stamford Bridge and dominating the return fixture at home. However, both teams are clicking on all cylinders right now, and are playing their best football of the year. Chelsea have been reborn under Guus Hiddink and Liverpool have, suddenly, become the hottest team in Europe. Both teams have fought their way back into the Premiership title race, after it looked like Manchester United were going to run away with it. Both teams believe that they can, not only win the Premiership, but that they can win the Champions League as well.
Of course, after this fixture, one of these teams will be finished in Europe. If history is any guide, both of these legs should be extraordinarily close and tense. One play or one mistake can turn the tide (as we saw with John Arne Riise’s own-goal at the end of the first leg last season). The emotions will be high and whoever loses this tie will be likely be devastated. It’s possible that the disappointment will carry over and affect the loser’s domestic form as well.
Will Liverpool continue their mastery over Chelsea? Or will Chelsea end Liverpool’s European aspirations for a second consecutive year? Tune in and find out!
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Kuyt, Lucas, Alonso, Riera, Gerrard, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Agger, Benayoun, Babel, Ngog.
Two changes from the side that defeated Fulham over the weekend. Dossena will make way for Riera while Insua will sit out for Aurelio. Mascherano, who missed out on the Fulham match due to fatigue will miss out today for an entirely different reason: he’s suspended after picking up a yellow in the previous Champions League match against Real Madrid. No real surprises up front as Gerrard and Torres will play together once again. Benayoun, with his penchant for scoring big goals late in the match, should figure as a sub.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, A. Cole, Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Kalou, Malouda, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Carvalho, Mikel, Deco, Belletti, Anelka, Mancienne.
The big news for Chelsea is that Drogba, who missed the weekend’s victory over Newcastle, has been deemed fit to start. Looks like Guus Hiddink’s commitment to playing Anelka and Drogba has gone the way of Michael Owen’s England career as the French striker will start this match on the bench. The other change from the weekend will be Ballack taking the place of Mikel in midfield.
90′ + 4 Reina comes up for the corner, but it’s nothing doing. There’s the whistle and we’re done! Could this be the end of Liverpool’s Champions League aspirations? We will see! Tune in next week when Soccerlens’ live coverage of the Champions League will resume!
90′ + 3 Alonso with the long-range effort and he forces a great save from Cech. Picking off a goal here would be huge for Liverpool.
90′ + 2 Kalou tries to play it through to Lampard, but he holds it too long and when he finally does send it in, Lampard is flagged for being offside. Back the other way as Torres finds all kinds of room down the left flank, and he picks out Benayoun on the right edge of the box. He tries a shot, but it’s blocked. Torres gets it and he tries the shot, but it’s easily taken by Cech.
90′ + 1 Torres gets in deep down the right flank, and he wins a corner, although it looks like the ball came off his own foot. It’s no big deal, though, as Chelsea knock it away from danger.
90′ I think most people figured that if any side would score three goals, it would be Liverpool. I’m shocked at this result, quite frankly. Chelsea have played very well and thoroughly deserve to win, but I don’t think anyone expected this.
89′ Malouda sends another corner in and this one is taken by Reina. Chelsea are back on the attack and Essien sends it through to Lampard. Reina comes way off his line and is almost guarding him like a centerback! It works as Reina blocks Lampard’s shot.
88′ Another corner to Chelsea, and let’s see if Liverpool give up another one. The corner goes to Ballack at the near post, but Alonso heads it out for another corner.
87′ Cech takes the long pass and Torres lingers near him with a hang-dog expression on his face. That tells you everything you need to know about Liverpool’s psyche right now.
86′ Liverpool win a corner and Benayoun will take it. His corner is tame and is ultimately taken by Cech.
85′ Here’s an interesting stat: Chelsea never scored three or more at Anfield while under Mourinho, Scolari, or Grant.
84′ Good work from Ballack and Anelka as they combine to take it away from Babel near the center line.
82′ Dossena with a poor touch down the left and he puts it out past the touch-line. They have yet to recover from that second Ivanovic goal.
81′ Kalou tries to win another corner, but he can’t do so and it’s a goal-kick to Reina.
80′ Chelsea win a corner and they take it short.
79′ Babel comes on for Lucas, and Lucas actually gets a hand from the crowd. Or maybe they’re applauding the fact that Lucas is no longer in the game. Chelsea make a change, as well, as Drogba will come off for Anelka.
78′ Chelsea go on the counterattack and Drogba sends a cross from the left edge of the box towards the far post for Kalou, Dossena and Reina have some miscommunication and Dossena nearly heads it past his own keeper. No dice, though, and Liverpool avoid danger.
77′ Benayoun sends a ball into the box for Torres, but Cech is out to punch it away. Lucas (who has been useless today) scuffs it and allows Chelsea a chance to reset their defense.
76′ Arbeloa sends a cross from deep down the right wing, but Cech goes flying again to corral it. Kuyt nearly undercuts him, and Kuyt does the right thing and checks on Cech.
75′ Aurelio is off and Dossena is on for Liverpool.
74′ Aurelio goes into the book for a poor tackle on Kalou. Meanwhile, Dossena is warming up and should be in soon. Lampard sends in the free kick from the right wing towards the far post, and Ballack gets his head on it. His shot is just wide of the near post, though. Ballack has had a very good game, so far.
71′ Liverpool are pressing here and Chelsea are throwing their bodies in front of everything. Lampard does well to win the ball in his defensive half and he sends it long to Kalou. He lays it off to Malouda, who tries his luck on the edge of the box, but Reina makes the comfortable save.
68′ Benayoun is now on for Riera. Is it too little too late?
67′GOAL! Brilliant pass from Ballack to Malouda down the left flank. He sends a great cross into the center of the box for Drogba, and the Chelsea marksman finally hits the target! Three away goals for Chelsea now, and Liverpool’s European campaign could be over!
65′ Liverpool’s supersub, Benayoun, is up and should be coming in soon. Probably for the ineffective Riera.
63′ Torres goes barreling into Alex, trying to get something going. Torres gets called for the foul, though. Meanwhile, Rafa looks like someone just farted in his general direction. Maybe it was the Guus.
62′GOAL! Chelsea win the corner and Ivanovic gets free again! Gerrard is the culprit this time as Ivanovic eludes him and heads it past Reina! That’s a huge goal!
60′ The booking seems harsh. I mean, Terry has a right to go for that ball, right?
59′ Aurelio with another miscue and Skrtel compounds it by giving up the corner while under pressure. Lampard’s corner is cleared away, but the ball is knocked towards goal and Skrtel whiffs on his clearance attempt. It’s up for grabs and Terry and Reina both go for it. They collide and they’re both down on the pitch. Some words are exchanged between the players, but nothing too serious. Both men are up and John Terry is booked for the infraction. That means he’ll miss the return leg.
58′ Seriously, though, I don’t know where the “Fat Frank” jokes come from. I’d kill to look like that.
57′ Lampard gives away a corner needlessly, but it doesn’t bite him in the (large) rear. Essien knocks Gerrard’s corner away from danger, but he took a pretty good hit from Skrtel. He’s down on the pitch now, and he’ll be tended to.
56′ Benitez does not look happy on that bench. It’s as if someone told him that Rick Parry isn’t leaving after all. Lampard sends in the free kick from 40 yards out, and Ballack gets his head on it. However the ball is right at Reina, and he makes the comfortable save.
53′ Gerrard and Torres work their magic as Gerrard takes Alonso’s pass and heads the ball into Torres’ path and he looks like he’s through on goal. His shot goes over the crossbar, though, and that’s a wasted chance for him.
52′ Lampard’s corner gets knocked around the pitch a little bit before Lampard gets it back. He threads a dangerous cross across the face of the goal, but none of his teammates can get on the end of it. Lampard then tries a shot from long range, but its into Reina’s arms.
51′ Miscue from Aurelio gifts Drogba another chance. He’s alone in front of goal and he beats Reina this time, but the shot lacks pace and Carragher clears it off the line! Drogba should be on a hat-trick right now.
50′ Ivanovic makes the tackle on Riera, but he loses it over the end-line for a corner. Gerrard’s corner is meant for Skrtel in front of goal, but it’s knocked away by Chelsea. Alonso sends it across the field to Gerrard and he gives it a go from long-range, but it’s wide of the post.
48′ Torres with the run down the left, but Kalou does well to strip the ball from him. “Kalouda” have been very good, so far. Surprisingly.
47′ They’re about 35 yards out or so. Auerlio curls the free kick towards the far post, and the only person close to it is Alex. He, for some reason, tries to head it back to goal, even as Cech tells him to lay off it. It looks like he may have gotten a slight touch, but it’s a goal-kick to Chelsea.
46′ Liverpool kick off and we’re underway! Malouda does good work to win the ball from Kuyt. He gets fouled near the center-line for his troubles. Terry is called for a foul for blocking off Torres as he tries to make the run into the box. No card for the Chelsea skipper, which is fair since he didn’t deserve one.
We all wondered whether this match could possibly live up to the hype. Well, the first half certainly lived up to our expectations, and then some. What a great match, so far! Both sides had their chances and Chelsea really did a great job to get back into the game after a nightmarish beginning. Both sides have had some shakiness in the back, so it’s not like the quality of the football is all that high. Still, it’s been an entertaining display of free-flowing, positive football. Hopefully, we’ll see more of the same in the second half!
45′ + 1 One minute will be added on, which seems low considering there was the Kalou injury and two goals. Oh well. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime. Whew! I have to catch my breath after that half!
45′ It’s 4-0 at the Nou Camp right now as Bayern are getting a taste of their own medicine for running up the score against Sporting.
44′ Gerrard sends a shot from long-range that nearly becomes a great pass as Torres is lurking near the far post. However, he looked offside, which was probably why he didn’t go for it.
43′ Lampard with a takeaway on Lucas and he sends it down the left flank to Drogba. He looks to cross it towards the far post for Kalou, but he puts too much on it and it’s out for a goal-kick.
42′ Barca are up 3-0. At this rate, even Hleb should be able to start the second leg, right?
41′ Wow, you can’t turn away from this match for a second! What an exciting half!
40′ Another miscue from the Chelsea back four and Kuyt has it on the left edge of the box. Terry labors over but Kuyt gets his shot away. Cech, however, makes a great save to concede the corner. Wow! What a match so far! On the ensuing corner, it’s knocked out to Alonso, who scuffs a shot/pass that’s out for a goal-kick.
39′GOAL! Lampard sends in the corner and Ivanovic works his tail off to get away from Alonso and get in front of Skrtel. He gets a free header and easily puts it past Reina! What a huge goal for Chelsea!
38′ Lampard’s long-range shot takes a deflection for a corner. Reina comes out for the corner and he can’t control it. Kalou gets it and tries to send in a cross from deep down the right edge of the box, but it’s out for another corner.
37′ Good pressure from Chelsea as Malouda keeps it from going out and Cole tries to whip a cross into the center of goal for Drogba, but it’s cleared away from danger.
35′ Arbeloa gets a shot as he shakes Malouda on the edge of the box. His shot goes just wide of the far post, though, and Chelsea can breathe easily for the moment.
32′ Riera thumps a cross from the left flank, but it’s well over everyone’s’ heads.
30′ Torres tries to five-hole Ashley Cole down the right flank, but Cole does well to block him off and he takes it away. Meanwhile, Ballack fouls Riera and the ref produces the card. At first, Ballack thinks its on him and he’s pissed, but turns out, it was on Kalou for kicking the ball away.
29′ Excellent pass from Ballack from the left flank and he finds Drogba in front of goal. He gets away from Carragher, but his shot is well over the crossbar. That’s another point-blank chance that he’s missed.
28′ Lucas gets a chance from long-range, but he shanks his shot so badly that he can do nothing but smile. Somehow, I doubt that the Liverpool fans are smiling.
27′ Free kick to Liverpool and Alonso sends it deep into the box. However Ashley Cole is there and clears it.
26′ Another miscue from Lampard (I haven’t seen him play this poorly in a while) as he dilly-dallies with the ball in his own half and gives it away to Torres. He tries to turn and curl the shot past Cech, but it’s just wide of the post.
25′ Sloppiness from Skrtel gifts Chelsea a corner. Let’s see if they can take advantage. Lampard sends it towards Alex, but Torres heads it away. Chelsea come back and Kalou nearly springs Alex down the left edge of the box, but Reina is out to take it.
24′ Kalou sends it to Drogba, who then lays it off to the hard-charging Malouda, who makes the run down the left flank. He fires a shot on goal that’s just wide of the far post.
23′ It’s already getting ugly in Barcelona. The Catalans are up 2-0 on goals from Messi and Eto’o.
22′ Alex takes it and it’s right into the wall. Another wasteful free kick from Chelsea. Meanwhile, Kalou is back and seems okay.
21′ Ivanovic fouls Riera deep down the left. They take the free kick quickly, but Cech is alert and catches it. Back the other way, and Drogba is fouled about 30 yards out by Alonso. Let’s see who takes it.
20′ Lampard hits the wall and then tries to curl a cross that’s easily intercepted by Arbeloa. Not a good stretch there from Frank.
18′ Aurelio gives away a free kick in a dangerous era as he tackles Kalou late. Kalou’s given him some trouble so far (who would have ever thought that anyone would ever say that?). Anyway, Kalou is down and he looks like he’s in pain. The stretcher is out, and he’s clearly having trouble with his leg.
17′ Aurelio slices a long cross from the left flank towards the far post for Torres, but Cech shows off his hops and is out to intercept that one. Cech got some impressive hangtime on that jump.
15′ Gerrard with a nice pass into the box from the left flank to Lucas, who can’t handle it because, well, he’s Lucas. Back the other way as Lampard’s shot is blocked on the edge of the box by Skrtel. Poor clearance from Liverpool and Chelsea send it in to Drogba who is behind the defense. In this case, that’s not a good thing, as Drogba is clearly offside.
13′ Aurelio with a nice pass down the left flank to spring Riera, but Ivanovic does well to stay with him. He eventually muscles Riera off the ball and knocks it away from danger.
11′ Lampard gives it away in his own territory and Torres has it! He makes a run into the box, but Chelsea’s defense does well to get back and cover him. Alex eventually makes the tackle and takes it away. Whew! What a match so far!
10′ Essien with a nice pass into the box for Drogba, but he can’t handle it. Liverpool’s defense had stopped playing since they thought the linesman would flag Drogba for being offside. Liverpool better not get complacent, or else they could let Chelsea back into this match.
7′ Terrible howler from Aurelio as he looks unsure of whether to hold it or send it back to Reina. He holds it and Kalou takes it away from him on the edge of the box. Drogba has it and he’s one-on-one with Reina, but he can’t convert! How did he not score from there? Could that be the difference in this match?
6′GOAL! Chelsea’s defense gets spread thin as Torres nearly gets between Terry and Ivanovic. Poor clearance as Kuyt gets it on the edge of the box and lays it off to Arbeloa down the right flank. He centers it to Torres, and he roundhouses it past Cech for the goal!
5′ Ballack draws a foul in his attacking half. It’s about 45 yards out or so, and Lampard tries to serve it into the box. It’s cleared away from danger by Liverpool.
3′ Corner goes out to Kuyt, who fires a shot from the left edge of the box. It takes a nasty deflection off Ivanovic and it’s out for a corner. No, wait, the refs give the goal-kick instead. Oh well.
2′ Nifty move by Malouda (who’s sporting the cornrows today) as he tries to flick it over a defender and into his path along the touchline, but it’s out. Back the other way and Torres wins a corner against Alex deep down the right edge of the box.
1′ Chelsea kick off and we’re underway! Claus Bo Larsen is our ref. Poor clearance from Reina right off the bat, but Lampard isn’t ready for it and he gives it right back to Liverpool.
0′ Liverpool fans continue to sing even as the Champions League anthem plays over the P.A. system. Have they no respect for the Champions League?!
0′ Chelsea have several players that are one yellow card away from being suspended for the second-leg. John Terry, Ashley Cole and Nicolas Anelka. Liverpool’s roll-call isn’t nearly as imposing: Alvaro Arbeloa and Andrea Dossena. If this tie is as close and competitive as the last few have been, then something like this could make a huge difference.
0′ Look at all the great individual matchups in this game! Gerrard v. Lampard! Terry v. Torres! Drogba v. Carragher! Alonso v. Essien! Lucas v. – uh Liverpool fans?
0′ The Chammmmm-pionnnnnnnnns!
0′ Also starting for Barca today: Gerard Pique. I bet Manchester United wishes they still had him right about now.
0′ I’ll try and keep an eye on the Barca/Bayern match as well. A quick look at the lineups reveal no surprises for Barca. The Big Three are all starting, as are the rest of the usual suspects (Xavi, Iniesta, Alves, Puyol, etc.). Hleb didn’t even make the bench this time. As for Bayern, things are already looking bad for them and they haven’t even kicked off. They’ve made some big changes after being humiliated over the weekend by Wolfsburg. Rensing has been dropped and Butt will start in goal in his place. Podolski and Lahm are on the bench and Luca Toni will go it alone up front. He’ll have Ribery and Schweinsteiger, but no Lucio, who is out with an injury. Things could get ugly in a hurry for Bayern…
0′ It’ll be interesting to see how Rafa goes about wielding his power now that he has full control over personnel matters. Obviously, he’ll go after Barry again, and he’ll probably try and pry Lennon from Tottenham. Not sure either of them are what they need, especially Barry.
0′ The latest Rafa Benitez rant has left me a little bit confused. We all saw what happened the last time he went off on Sir Alex like that. Why do it again? Either Rafa hates Sir Alex so much that he not only wants to win at Ferguson’s expense, but he wants to rub the Man Utd. gaffer’s nose in it, or else he honestly thinks that he can play mindgames with the likes of SAF. Or, maybe Rafa’s newfound power at the club have clouded his judgment.
0′ This should be a great match between two in-form clubs. Throw in their familiarity with one another, and it could be a classic!
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the Champions League! Today, we’ll be bringing you the much-hyped Liverpool vs. Chelsea match! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger! I’m watching this match on ESPN. However, this match (as well as the Bayern Munich/Barcelona match) is available, on-line, at ESPN360. For information on how to access that fine service, feel free to consult this article. Click here for other, free, options.
Sometimes, a managerial change does make a huge difference. When Scolari was fired, Chelsea were in crisis-mode. The players had lost confidence and the manager looked like he didn’t know what he was doing. Guus Hiddink seems to have reinvigorated this squad and has yet to take a false step as manager (sure, they lost to Spurs, but you could argue that Chelsea outplayed Tottenham and deserved, at least, a draw). He has Chelsea playing its best football of the year, and they could be heading towards the semifinals after picking up three away-goals at Anfield. Chelsea outplayed Liverpool and deserved the victory, especially in the second half. If they keep playing this well, then they won’t miss John Terry at all in the second-leg.
As for Liverpool, they looked like they were on top of the world heading into this match. However, it could be another instance of Rafa opening his big mouth and his players paying the price. Or, it could just be that they were due for a poor performance. In any event, they were thoroughly outplayed and were lucky not to have lost by 5 or 6. They were sloppy in the back and were dominated in midfield by the likes of Essien, Ballack, and Lampard. Other than his brilliant opener, Torres was held in check for most of the game, and Gerrard was uncharacteristically ineffective. It’ll be interesting to see if this loss has any carry-over effect towards Liverpool’s domestic campaign. If so, then Chelsea may have just done Manchester United a huge favor.
Man of the Match:
It was a dream game for Ivanovic, the replacement right back who was only starting because of Jose Bosingwa’s injury. As a result of Liverpool’s sudden inability to defend corners, Ivanovic nodded home, not once, but twice to really put Liverpool’s feet to the fire. He also did well defensively, as he and Kalou combined to shut down Riera and Aurelio. Ballack, Essien, and Lampard also played well for Chelsea (although Lampard did have some shaky moments),as did the much maligned Malouda. As for Liverpool, it was slim pickings for them as everyone, short of Torres, seemed to have taken the night off. They’ll need everyone to play their best, and then some, if they want to overturn this deficit.