Thursday, October 1, 2009

Top Five Liverpool Wins Against Chelsea

As Liverpool prepares for the trip to Stamford Bridge to face arch rivals Chelsea in Sunday's Premiership match, it would be fair to think of Chelsea as the favourites. Considering that Liverpool had a terrible European night losing to Fiorentina, they would want to put things right against Chelsea. The Blues also have the added incentive of putting the Wigan defeat to rest and will hope to rise to the occasion. Since this will be played at the Bridge, Chelsea should start as slight favourites.

Liverpool and Chelsea have dished up some very entertaining and significant matches over the years. These are my top five Liverpool wins over Chelsea.

Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0 - Premier League 1st February 2009
This win meant that Liverpool did the double over Chelsea for the first time in the Rafa Benitez reign. Liverpool needed to win to keep their title hopes alive and they did so with two very late Fernando Torres goals. The Reds had a happy habit of winning games late on last season and this was another example of that new-found resilience which had carried over to this season.

Liverpool 5 Chelsea 1 - Premier League 21st September 1996
This was a match with a scoreline that no one expected. Chelsea of '96 were a team of foreign superstars. Stars like Zola, Vialli, Leboeuf, Petrescu, Di Matteo and Gullit made Chelsea the glamour team of the 90's and Liverpool took that Chelsea side to the cleaners. Patrik Berger marked his debut for Liverpool with two goals and an assist. Superb performance from the Reds.

Liverpool 4 Chelsea 2 - Premier League 5th October 1997
Patrik Berger again proved to be the scourge of Chelsea, scoring a hattrick at Anfield. He was to be the last player to score three goals against Chelsea. A significant game for Liverpool as they needed to get back into title contention that season. It was also the Roy Evans era and the Liverpool "Spice Boys" which promised much but deliver little.

Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0 - Champions League Semifinal 3rd May 2005
A controversial fourth minute Luis Garcia goal was all it took to separate these two battling sides. This match was won in midfield and Liverpool dominated a talented Chelsea midfield with Didi Hamann magnificient at the heart of it. Jose Mourinho will always be remembered for this qoute,
"The best team lost. Noboby knows if it was a goal, not even the linesman."
Beating Chelsea meant that Liverpool advanced to the Champions League Final in 2005 held at Istanbul. A sensational final awaited against AC Milan where Liverpool overcame all odds to storm back and won the Champions League trophy in a penalty shootout.

Chelsea 1 Liverpool 2 - FA Cup semi-final 22nd April 2006
With memories still fresh from the events of the Champions League match in 2005, Luis Garcia's goal this time round was no mistake. The mercurial Spaniard showed his eye for goal with a 20-yard screamer to give Liverpool a two-goal cushion although Drogba managed to pull one back to set up a nervy last twenty minutes. Liverpool held strong back in those days of Hyppia-Carragher and went on to win the FA Cup that year in one of the most entertaining finals ever.

And the best drawn match ever?

Chelsea 4 Liverpool 4 - Champions League Quarterfinal 15th April 2009
Of course, who could forget last season's 4-4 thriller at the Bridge. Liverpool came into this match needing to overturn a two-goal deficit. The Reds had looked the part as they raced to a two goal lead within the half hour and were in control. Nicolas Anelka came on in the second half and turned the game into Chelsea's favour as the Blues not only pulled level but led 3-2 through Frank Lampard. Liverpool refused to give up and fought for the lead 4-3 when Dirk Kuyt scored. Lampard ended any lingering Liverpool hopes by scoring in the final minute of the game.

Would Liverpool be able to keep their good form going against Chelsea this coming Sunday? With Albert Reira and Yossi Benayoun manning the flanks, Liverpool can really stretch Chelsea. The main challenge that Rafa faces is how to accomodate Gerrard, Mascherano and Lucas in central midfield. Benayoun could be the man to give way as Rafa will likely opt for Mascherano and Lucas in centre midfield as defensive screens. All eyes will again be on Torres and Gerrard as they look to improve on their 11-goal 5-assists partnership.

I am looking forward to a narrow Liverpool win this Sunday.


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