Tonight sees the first leg of the Capital One Cup Semi Final between Liverpool and Chelsea, and having already told you what we’re expecting from this evening’s tie we’ve decided to look back at some of the best cup matches between the two sides. The teams didn’t face each other in any cup until 1997, due mainly to Chelsea’s relatively low standing in English football up to that point, but there have been sixteen match-ups since 2004 across domestic and continental cup competitions and here are the best five…
27 February 2005 - League Cup Final
Liverpool 2-3 Chelsea (aet)
It’s little over a decade now since Chelsea won their first trophy of the Roman Abramovich era, with Chelsea coming out on top in a pulsating final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Both Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez were in their first seasons at their respective clubs, and it was the latter who had a wonderful start thanks to John Arne Riise’s volley in the first minute. A Steven Gerrard own goal forced the tie into extra time, where goals from Chelsea’s summer signings Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman put the result beyond Liverpool, who pulled one back through Antonio Nunez. Mourinho was sent to the stands for hushing Liverpool fans near his dugout, but he had the last laugh that day having won the first trophy of his tenure at the club. Benitez and Liverpool would soon have their revenge, though…
5 May 2005 - Champions League Semi Final, 2nd Leg
Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (1-0 agg)
After a stalemate at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, it was a winner-takes-all affair at Anfield for a place in the Champions League Final. Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions just days previously, and despite Liverpool being kept outside the top four by Merseyside rivals Everton, Mourinho was to be denied an opportunity at consecutive Champions League titles as a manager and a Chelsea treble in controversial circumstances. After just four minutes, Chelsea defender William Gallas cleared a Luis Garcia flick towards goal, but the officials deemed the ball to have already crossed the line. It appeared to be a guess by the referee, much to Chelsea’s protestations, and with no conclusive television camera angles or video technology to use, it’s still a huge point of debate whether the shot actually went over the line. Liverpool then held on for the remainder of the match to progress to the Final, where Benitez oversaw one of the most famous footballing comebacks of all time to win his first trophy as Liverpool manager and write his name into Anfield folklore.
30 April 2008 - Champions League Semi Final, 2nd Leg
Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool (4-3 agg)
The Champions League would be a stage for Liverpool and Chelsea to fight it out for the next few years, and the third Semi Final in four seasons between the two – Liverpool came out on top again in 2007 – saw Chelsea finally make it to the Final. Mourinho had left the club a few months previously, with Director of Football Avram Grant taking charge and leading The Blues to their first ever Champions League Final. With the scores tied at 1-1 from the first leg, Didier Drogba gave the home side the lead before Fernando Torres’s second half goal ensured extra time. A Frank Lampard penalty and Drogba goal in the first period of extra time were enough to take Chelsea through, although they were made to sweat by Ryan Babel’s long-range effort in the second half. Grant fell to his knees with joy at the final whistle, but Chelsea were to be denied Champions League glory by Manchester United after a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out.
14 April 2009 - Champions League Quarter Final
Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool (7-5 agg)
The two clubs met again in Europe the following season, with Benitez facing another new Chelsea manager in Guus Hiddink, in interim charge following the sacking of Luis Felipe Scolari. Having lost 1-3 in their home leg, the tie looked a mountain to climb for Liverpool but they were level inside half an hour thanks to a surprise Fabio Aurelio free kick and Xabi Alonso’s penalty. After a Hiddink hounding at half time, Chelsea quickly restored the two-goal gap on aggregate before the hour mark, with Pepe Reina spilling a tame Drogba flick into the net before Blues’ centre back Alex smashed home a ferocious free kick five minutes later. Chelsea captain Lampard made it 3-2 and left the away side needing three goals in the final fifteen minutes, and Liverpool gave them another scare as Lucas and Dirk Kuyt scored within a minute of each other. The Reds chased the all-important additional goal, but in the final minute Lampard fired home to seal the Semi Final place for Chelsea, where they lost out to Barcelona injury time of the second leg.
5 May 2012 - FA Cup Final
Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool
The last meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea outside the Premier League came three years ago, in a season of mixed fortunes for each club. Both were underperforming in the league, with Chelsea outside the top four and Liverpool in their lowest position since 1994, but Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool had won the League Cup (winning at Stamford Bridge en route to the Final) while The Blues, who had Roberto di Matteo in caretaker charge, had sealed a place in the Champions League Final. With both sides eyeing potential doubles, an early first half goal from Ramires and an early second half goal from Drogba – the fourth FA Cup Final he’s scored in, which remains a record – looked to have put Chelsea out of sight. With just over 35 minutes remaining, Dalglish’s big-money flop Andy Carroll was brought on and within ten minutes he pulled a goal back to give The Reds hope. From then on it was a Liverpool onslaught but Chelsea survived by the skin of their teeth, including a remarkable Petr Cech save from Carroll on the goal-line, to win their seventh FA Cup. Liverpool would beat Chelsea 4-1 just days later at Anfield in the Premier League, although it was no consolation for the Final defeat and Chelsea were saving players for the upcoming Champions League Final, which they would win dramatically against Bayern Munich. Dalglish, meanwhile, was sacked at the end of the season by Liverpool, and they haven’t won a trophy since. Victory over Chelsea tonight would put the club in a great position to do so.