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May 8, 2012
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 40721
I'll leave you as the Liverpool players applaud the home fans for the final time during the 2011-12 campaign. Thanks for reading our live coverage of Liverpool vs. Chelsea - don't forget to join us again for the last day of the Premier League season on Sunday. It promises to be a dramatic one. Good night.
This will all be forgotten by Chelsea fans, of course, if they can emerge victorious in the Champions League final in Munich. Their sights are understandably on that game now. For Liverpool, a bit of hope as another season at Anfield draws to a close.
That's that! Liverpool's terrific first half set them on the way to a comfortable victory but Chelsea endured a nightmare defensively throughout and didn't get much going in an attacking sense. There was always a bit of a subdued atmosphere to what would usually be classed as one of the biggest matches of the Premier League season but Reds fans can enjoy a fine win tonight.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME! Liverpool 4-1 Chelsea
90' + 2'
Lovely flick-on by Raheem Sterling from a Liverpool corner from the left goes untouched. Andy Carroll retrieves the ball and crosses from the left but Daniel Agger sends a free header wide. Non-existent marking on Chelsea's part once again.
Dirk Kuyt breaks in from the right wing and plays a one-two with Luis Suarez, before then returning it again to the Uruguayan. He stabs his shot just wide.
Luis Suarez squares a pass to Jordan Henderson whose driven shot from 20 yards out is deflected wide. The corner is cleared.
Another clash between Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic. The Uruguayan is penalised for a high boot that connects with the defender. It looked an honest challenge, as he tried to latch on to a pass in the box.
Raheem Sterling has a chance to make an immediate impact but volleys high and wide after being played in by Luis Suarez's flick-on.
Maxi Rodriguez departs the field of play - and waves goodbye to Anfield. The Argentine midfielder will leave the Reds at the end of the season in search of more first team opportunities and leaves to appreciative applause. Raheem Sterling and Dirk Kuyt are on, with Stewart Downing also subbed.
At the other end, Michael Essien lofts a free-kick of his own well over the bar. It was curled in with about as much power as a floated cross.
Stewart Downing and Luis Suarez try to work an opening in the box but they get a little over-elaborate and concede possession. Liverpool win a free-kick a little while later but Suarez hits the wall.
Bit of an incident between Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic. The pair battle for a ball which Ivanovic succeeds in shielding out of play for a Chelsea goal-kick. Arms are flailing and Suarez looks as if he's trying to pull back on the shoulder of the Serbian but ends up clocking him in the face. Ivanovic makes a meal of it, spending about 30 seconds on the floor with his head in his hands, before refusing the Uruguayan's offer of a handshake upon returning to his feet. Seems familiar...
Two openings for Andy Carroll. First, he can't quite control his volley from a long pass lofted into the box and sends his effort well wide. Then, the striker attempts a cross to Luis Suarez at the back post but nearly ends up testing Ross Turnbull, with the ball just evading the crossbar.
Great chance for Romelu Lukaku. Ramires, whose engine and desire is quite incredible considering the context of this game, bursts down the right wing again and backheels to Florent Malouda, who is arriving behind him. The midfielder delivers an inch perfect cross but Lukaku's header is brilliantly saved by Pepe Reina.
Yellow Card Daniel Agger
Ramires looks to dart past Daniel Agger, cleverly leaves the ball behind himself and earns a free-kick as the Dane hacks him down. Yellow card for Agger.
Chelsea are playing 4-4-2 now, with Romelu Lukaku and Fernando Torres leading the line. Florent Malouda is on the left side of midfield, with Ramires opposite and Michael Essien and Oriol Romeu in the centre.
Massive striker count: one each. Romelu Lukaku - just 18 years of age, unbelievably - replaces Daniel Sturridge for Chelsea.
Yellow Card Jordan Henderson
Not a lot happening now. Jordan Henderson is booked - the first Liverpool player to see yellow tonight.
That looks like that, then, as far as the possibility of a Chelsea comeback goes. Daniel Agger breaks down the left but his cross is blocked and bounces up - Andy Carroll, perhaps getting a bit carried away, attempts an overhead kick but gets closer to kicking a Chelsea player than the ball and Kevin Friend blows for a foul.
Goal Jonjo Shelvey
GOAL! Liverpool 4-1 Chelsea - Another catastrophic goal from Chelsea's point of view. Ross Turnbull, it is safe to say, will not be replacing Petr Cech any time soon. John Terry is forced to go back to Turnbull after a quick goal-kick - the goalkeeper's left-footed clearance from the back pass is poor and heads straight for Jonjo Shelvey, who hammers into the wide open net from 30 yards out.
Daniel Sturridge bamboozles no one with some trickery on the ball before sending in a cross that is easily cleared. We've not seen much from the forward so far; he doesn't look overly excited with his left wing position tonight.
Remember Michael Essien's thunderbolt of a shot from distance? His latest effort, unfortunately, is not quite out of that drawer - the Ghana midfielder steps into space 20 yards from goal but skews an awful left-footed effort well wide.
Luis Suarez tries to wriggle free down the left after the referee had played a good advantage for a foul on Maxi Rodriguez but he can't escape the attention of Branislav Ivanovic.
Jordan Henderson steps up in midfield to intercept a loose clearance and plays in Martin Skrtel, who finds himself in an advanced position on the left wing. Skrtel cuts inside and fires low at goal, but Ross Turnbull makes the save.
Assist Florent Malouda
GOAL! Liverpool 3-1 Chelsea - Game on! After Jonjo Shelvey bundled over Ramires, Florent Malouda floats a free-kick into the Liverpool box from the Chelsea right-hand side and the Brazilian gets some sort of contact to divert it towards goal. The ball hits Pepe Reina in the thigh on the way in - the goalkeeper might have hoped to block that one - but it looks like Ramires will be credited with the goal.
Stewart Downing swings a cross towards the back post and Andy Carroll heads it back across goal but John Terry and Michael Essien are able to help it back to Ross Turnbull.
The second half is underway. If Roberto Di Matteo does plan to introduce any of his substitutes, he's going to wait a little bit longer first. No changes at the break.
Interesting situation for Roberto Di Matteo. He has the likes of Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku on the bench, but I imagine the plan was to rest the former two for as long as possible. Chelsea still have a chance of finishing fourth, of course, but it is now looking very distant. It might be wise to go for damage limitation and focus on securing Champions League qualification by winning the final in Munich.
What a half for Liverpool - the Reds lead by three goals despite Stewart Downing's missed penalty. Chelsea have not played well and they will be even more disappointed with the manner in which they have shipped goals - an own goal, a disastrous slip by John Terry and a corner kick. Fernando Torres has also hit the bar - nothing has gone right, Downing's penalty miss aside, for the Blues so far.
45' + 4'
HALF-TIME! Liverpool 3-0 Chelsea
45' + 3'
Missed Penalty Stewart Downing
DOWNING HITS THE POST! Stewart Downing sends Ross Turnbull the wrong way but his penalty kick rebounds back out off of the post. Andy Carroll tries to send home the rebound but slips as he makes contact and sends it well wide. Downing is still searching for his first league goal for Liverpool.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Branislav Ivanovic
45' + 2'
PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL! Branislav Ivanovic elbows Andy Carroll as the pair challenge for a cross and referee Kevin Friend points to the spot. Ivanovic's eyes were the giveaway - he turned and looked at the menacing frame of Carroll before throwing the loose elbow, which sent the striker to the ground.
45' + 1'
Boos for Fernando Torres as he wins a corner on the left-hand side. Cheers for Andy Carroll as his thumping header clears the delivery into touch.
Yellow Card Michael Essien
Michael Essien heads into the book and he fully deserves it. The Ghana midfielder hacks Andy Carroll down with a wild sliding challenge from behind.
I think that's what Kenny Dalglish was hoping for when he splashed out on Stewart Downing last summer. The winger takes Luis Suarez's knock-down in his stride and from 25 yards unleashes a precise volley that clips the crossbar.
TV replays show a very high, reckless challenge from Jonjo Shelvey on Ramires during that Chelsea counter-attack. The former Charlton midfielder was very lucky to escape unpunished there.
Goal.com correspondent Greg Stobart reports from Anfield: “You should have stayed at a big club,” sings the Kop towards Fernando Torres. I'd imagine the two clubs' respective seasons mean the Spaniard is not regretting his move but he's being given an uncomfortable evening on his return to his old club.
Chelsea counter-attack into a lot of space with Ramires, Fernando Torres and Michael Essien but they take too long and Liverpool are able to get men back. Daniel Sturridge wins a corner after running down a blind alley on the left but the Blues can't take advantage.
This has been refreshingly open so far. After another Chelsea player slips, Stewart Downing gets away on the right wing. His shot looks like a good one but John Terry makes an important block with his chest and the resulting corner comes to nothing.
Close for Fernando Torres! That was like watching the Spaniard in red - he takes a high ball down in his stride and blasts past Daniel Agger at the back post before slamming a shot onto the crossbar from a near impossible angle. Pepe Reina was beaten all ends up - so unlucky for Torres.
Good save from Ross Turnbull to deny Andy Carroll - it's all Liverpool. The former Middlesbrough goalkeeper parries away Carroll's left-footed shot from the right side of the penalty area.
Wow. Liverpool have come flying out of the blocks but they've undoubtedly been helped by a Chelsea team that looks to be going through the motions as they await the Champions League final.
Assist Andy Carroll
Goal Daniel Agger
GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Chelsea - Roberto Di Matteo's team are just not at the races. A corner from the Liverpool left is headed back across goal by Andy Carroll and Daniel Agger stoops to direct the ball into the back of the net from close range.
Assist Maxi Rodríguez
Goal Jordan Henderson
GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea - Disaster for John Terry! Maxi Rodriguez's through ball looks tame but Terry slips on the Anfield pitch just before making what looked like an easy clearance. Jordan Henderson nips in, runs through on goal past the stranded skipper and calmly passes the ball beyond Ross Turnbull.
Yellow Card John Terry
John Terry has looked a little troubled on occasion so far and goes into the referee's book this time for a challenge on Andy Carroll. Luis Suarez left the Blues captain for dead with a nutmeg early on.
Assist Luis Suárez
Own Goal Michael Essien
GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea - That should set things up for the next 70 minutes. Luis Suarez gets in down the right-hand side of the Chelsea box after a superb mazy dribble from the touchline. His attempted cut-back to the centre of the box hits Michael Essien and ends up in the back of the Blues' net.
This game is alive now, Sturridge cuts inside and sees his shot deflected out for a corner. Malouda takes it and Ivanovic gets up and heads unchallenged from six yards, but sees his effort cannon off the post and out to safety. That was close!
A long ball up from the back is impressively flicked backwards by Suarez and Carroll curls a shot from the edge of the area which falls only narrowly over the crossbar
Yellow Card Paulo Ferreira
Controversy here. Florent Malouda is felled by Jonjo Shelvey and is down on the ground but the referee waves play on despite Chelsea protests. Andy Carroll receives the ball nicely and twists past Paulo Ferreira, before the Portuguese stopper takes him down 30 yards from goal and receives a booking for his troubles. Malouda eventually gets to his feet at the other end and protests that he was caught in the head by Shelvey, but the ref orders him to his feet.
The first sign of life from Suarez. The Uruguay striker impressively fools John Terry but then drags his shot wide from the edge of the box - a warning for the visitors.
The Anfield crowd get some laughs as Romeu slips badly when trying to loft a long ball forward to Torres.
Chelsea get the match under way and the boos for Torres are already audible as he plays the ball back from centre.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Liverpool v Chelsea in the Premier League at Anfield. The two rivals have certainly seen a lot of one another in recent seasons and now they meet just a few days after the Blues took the spoils in a dramatic FA Cup final at Wembley.
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