Throwback: When Liverpool & Chelsea Still Did Battle In Europe

Well it didn’t take long for Steven Gerrard to find his way back to Anfield. The writing is on the wall, then: It may not be this blip that ousts Jürgen Klopp, but at some point The Normal One will get the axe. Why wait? Give it to Stevie now, I say! What could go wrong?

Such is the nature of the fixture list beast, that you get Chelsea in the league after bombing out to Wolverhampton in the FA Cup. From ’04/05 to ’08/09 the two sides met in each of the five Champions League editions, thrice at the semi-final stage. From those Liverpool advanced twice, winning one final and losing another, both against AC Milan in ’05 and ’07 respectively. Whilst Chelsea advanced to the ’08 final which they lost to Manchester United.

Those Liverpool versus Chelsea battles in the Champions League never lacked intensity and were always some of the best matches of the season. Their final meeting came in the quarter-finals of the 2008/09. Chelsea had won the first leg at Anfield 3:1. Torres was still with Liverpool and had put the Reds in front after just six minutes. A Branislav Ivanovic brace, with Didier Drogba tacking on another, gave the Blues a comfortable lead going into the return leg at the Brigde.

Both sides were without their captains: Chelsea’s John Terry was suspended, Steven Gerrard injured. Liverpool needed goals, three at least, and they were well on their way after half an hour. For starters Peter Cech is caught off guard as Fabio Aurelio sneaks a free kick past an illplaced one-man-wall (19′). After Ivanovic wrestles Alonso to the ground in the box, it’s the Spaniard who converts the resulting penalty himself (28′). Liverpool take a 2:0 lead into the break.

“Stranger things have happened. I just can’t figure any at the moment”, touts Clive Tyldesley as the second half get’s underway, somehow forgetting he was witness to the ’99 CL final. And for the next stretch Chelsea reel the upset back in again. Drogba, Alex and Lampard give the Blues a 3:2 lead, aided in no small part by Reina.

With just fifteen minutes left on the clock Liverpool needed another three goals. Two of those they got within half that time. Lucas Leiva’s long range effort was deflected past a hapless Cech, whilst Dirk Kuyt headed home an Albert Riera cross from point-blank range. But the luck favored Chelsea, as the host were to have the last laugh: In the 89th minute, from about the penalty spot Lampard curls a shot around Reina onto the post from where it bounces just right and into the goal for the final 4:4.

Chelsea would go on to face Barcelona in the semi-finals, drawing 0:0 at Camp Nou and 1:1 at the Bridge, with the second leg being a sure future installment in this series.

About Sebastian

Sebastian writes and talks about football of all eras in German and English. His series of Retro Match Reports focus on British, German and Italian football history. For YYFP he is currently working his way through the late '70s and early '80s. Follow Sebastian on Twitter: @maltacalcio.

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