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Di Matteo praises 'inspired' Liverpool

The Chelsea boss hailed Kenny Dalglish's men after suffering a heavy defeat at Anfield which leaves the Blues' Champions League hopes resting on the upcoming final in Munich

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo praised the performance of an "inspired" Liverpool after his side suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat at Anfield on Tuesday night.

The loss on Merseyside left Chelsea needing a win in their upcoming Champions League final against Bayern Munich in order to qualify for Europe's premier competition next season.

The Blues were consigned to finishing sixth after an own goal from Michael Essien in addition to strikes by Jordan Henderson, Daniel Agger and Jonjo Shelvey helped the Reds to victory.

"I thought Liverpool were the better side tonight," Di Matteo told reporters. "They were inspired and scored goals at the right time as well. They were better than us tonight and we need to give credit to them.

"I thought we would have a better chance with a fresh and energetic team. We have been using the strength in the squad to be here.

"We've played with these players all season and they carried us this far. There was still a chance of fourth spot before tonight.

"We've tried very hard. We've pushed in every game but Liverpool were better than us today."

Chelsea still had a chance of finishing fourth prior to Tuesday evening's match but Di Matteo felt that all 37 league games so far should be judged when assessing where the Blues came up short.

"We lost many points during the whole season, you can't just look at today," Di Matteo insisted.

"We have to be objective and consider that we've played 37 Premier League games. I don't think it's the points dropped today that made the difference."

The Italian also refused to be drawn on his early selection ideas ahead of the finale of the European football calendar in Munich.

Juan Mata, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, among others, were all rested against Liverpool and could be set for a final berth.

"The final is a one off, high pressure game," Di Matteo explained. "I'll have to think about the team and how we will play, which players fit best into our set-up for the final."

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