Classic clashes between Liverpool and Chelsea

Classic clashes between Liverpool and Chelsea

Liverpool face Chelsea in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, with the first major domestic trophy of the season on offer for the winners.

AFP Sport looks at classic encounters in a bitter rivalry:

– Genesis of a feud –

Fittingly for a man who revels in his reputation as football’s agent provocateur, it was Jose Mourinho who lit the fuse on Chelsea’s acrimonious feud with Liverpool.

Fuelled by Roman Abramovich’s billions and Mourinho’s masterful mind games, Chelsea were about to embark on a golden era and Liverpool, as one of England’s traditional powers, were especially irked by the ostentatious newcomers.

So when they met in the 2005 League Cup final in Cardiff sparks were bound to fly and Mourinho and company didn’t disappoint.

John Arne Rise’s first minute opener for Liverpool was followed by a late Steven Gerrard own goal that forced extra-time.

In an early glimpse of his emotional touchline antics, Mourinho was sent off for taunting Liverpool fans with a shushing gesture after the equaliser.

With Mourinho by now watching on television, strikes from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman put Chelsea in control.

Antonio Nunez got one back for Liverpool, but Chelsea held on for a 3-2 win that secured the first trophy of Mourinho’s reign and ignited a grudge that lingers to this day.

– Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ –

Any enduring sporting enmity needs an iconic moment to guarantee it stands the test of time. For Liverpool and Chelsea that moment arrived at Anfield on May 3, 2005.

Just three minutes into the Champions League semi-final second leg, Liverpool’s Milan Baros beat Chelsea keeper Petr Cech to the ball inside the area.

It rolled towards Luis Garcia and the Spanish winger prodded his close-range shot goalwards despite William Gallas’s despairing attempt to clear off the line.

To Chelsea’s anger, referee Lubos Michel gave the goal and, with no goal-line technology or VAR to confirm if it had gone in, the controversy has lingered ever since.

Even Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez wouldn’t say for sure if it was a goal, but his team held on to win 1-0 on aggregate and went on to beat AC Milan in an epic final.

Mourinho was furious, labelling Garcia’s effort a “ghost goal”, and Liverpool rubbed salt into the wound two years later when they defeated the Blues in the Champions League semi-finals at Anfield again, this time on penalties.

– Penalty drama at Wembley –

Liverpool’s most recent trophies came at the expense of Chelsea in 2022 as Jurgen Klopp’s men held their nerve to win a pair of penalty shoot-outs in the League Cup and FA Cup finals.

The first part of that silverware double came in the League Cup when, after a 0-0 draw at Wembley, Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties.

Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, brought on in the closing moments of extra-time as a penalty-saving specialist, missed the decisive spot-kick after his Liverpool counterpart Caoimhin Kelleher had scored with his own effort.

Klopp still recalls that encounter with great fondness, expressing admiration for the intensity produced by both teams in a titanic tussle.

It was a similar story just three months later when Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties after another gruelling 0-0 draw in the FA Cup final.

This time, Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker was the star, saving Mason Mount’s spot-kick to set up the Kostas Tsimikas winner that left Chelsea heartbroken once more.


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