Chelsea (Drogba 51′, Alex 57′, Lampard 76′ 89′) 4-4 Liverpool (Aurelio 19′, Alonso pen. 28′, Lucas 81′, Kuyt 83′) – Chelsea win 7-5 on aggregate
Stadium: Stamford Bridge, England
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Quarterfinals, Second Leg
Date: 14 April 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 14:45 ET
Chelsea advanced to the Semifinals of the UEFA Champions League after they played Liverpool to a wild 4-4 draw in the second leg of their epic Quarterfinal tie! Soccerlens brought you action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments below!
Going into the opening leg of the fifth installment of the annual Liverpool/Chelsea Champions League rivalry, the conventional wisdom was that the tie, like all the ones that preceded it, would be extraordinarily close. Moreover, despite Chelsea’s recent run of good form under new manager Guus Hiddink, the conventional wisdom was that Liverpool were the better team and would win the tie to advance to the Semifinals.
Well, let’s just say that conventional wisdom is now, solidly, on its head.
Chelsea dominated Liverpool during the opening leg of their Quarterfinal clash, and scored three crucial away goals to put themselves firmly in the driver’s seat. As the scene shifts from Anfield to Stamford Bridge, Liverpool are down, but they are not out.
They have a tall task before them, and they will need every bit of their talent, skill, and toughness if they want to conquer Chelsea. They’ll be getting Javier Mascherano back after the defensive midfield ace was suspended for the first leg. However, skipper Steven Gerrard, who controls so much of what the team does on offense, will be a question-mark after suffering a groin injury.
Liverpool showed that they didn’t need Gerrard over the weekend, demolishing Blackburn by a score of 4-0 without their talismanic captain. However, Chelsea aren’t Blackburn, and Liverpool would be at a huge disadvantage if Gerrard weren’t available for the second leg (Editor: Gerrard is set to play for Liverpool tonight).
As for Chelsea, they were also cruising towards a 4-0 victory over the weekend against Bolton when they had to hold on for dear life as Bolton staged a tremendous comeback. Chelsea eased up and nearly paid the price, giving up three goals in the span of eight minutes to let a Bolton team that had looked dead and buried, back into the match. Bolton came up short, but they proved it is possible to score big at Stamford Bridge.
That bit of knowledge could help Liverpool, especially since Chelsea will be without their leader, John Terry, after the skipper picked up a yellow card during the first leg. However, Ricardo Carvalho finally looks fit and looks set to lead the defense in Terry’s place. Plus, Chelsea should have their not-so-secret weapon in Branislav Ivanovic, who scored two goals and exposed Liverpool’s weakness on set-pieces.
Will Chelsea cruise to victory? Or will Liverpool pull off, what would be, a legendary comeback? Tune in and find out!
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Carvalho, A. Cole, Essien, Ballack, Lampard (c), Kalou, Malouda, Drogba.
Subs: Hilario, Di Santo, Mikel, Deco, Belletti, Anelka, Mancienne.
Only one change from the side that defeated Bolton over the weekend. Essien, who was rested for that match, will reclaim his spot from Mikel. As expected, Carvalho will start in Terry’s place as the skipper is suspended for today’s clash. Otherwise, it’s the same team that defeated Liverpool a week ago at Anfield.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher (c), Skrtel, Aurelio, Lucas, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt, Benayoun, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Agger, Riera, Ngog, Babel.
Looks like it’s bad news and worse news for Liverpool. The bad news is that Gerrard has been omitted completely, which means that either his groin is more injured than previously thought, or else Rafa has decided to bag this match and concentrate on the League. What could possibly be worst than that? How about Lucas getting another start? Other than that, the big news is that Mascherano is back for Liverpool and Benayoun will start in place of Riera. Agger and Insua, who started against Blackburn over the weekend, will sit out for Skrtel and Aurelio.
90′ + 4 Drogba is off and Di Santo is on for Chelsea. Di Santo barely even makes it onto the pitch before the ref blows the whistle! It’s over and Chelsea are into the Semifinals! Congrats guys! Now you get to play Barcelona! Thanks to everyone who followed along! Tune in tomorrow as we’ll see if Manchester United can get past Porto!
90′ + 3 Riera wins a corner off Ivanovic. It’s nothing doing as Chelsea clear it away from danger. What a wild match!
90′ + 2 Drogba is down on the pitch and seems intent on wasting as much time as possible.
90′ + 1 Three minutes will be added on.
90′ Cech seems like he wants to make things interesting as he comes out again and is stranded in no man’s land. Ngog sends it towards goal, but Essien is there to clear it off the line!
89′ GOAL! More sloppy defending by Liverpool as they give it away on the edge of the box. Drogba gets it and sends it to Anelka, who makes the run down the right. He sends it out to the center of the box towards Lampard, and his shot careens off the post and goes past the line for a goal! That should do it (at least I think).
87′ Nice play by Malouda to keep it from going over the touchline. He sends it to Lampard, and his shot inside the box is deflected out for a corner. Chelsea try and waste time with the short corner, but Liverpool win a free kick.
86′ Liverpool with a counterattack and Alex looks like he’s out of position as Ngog charges right at him. Alex recovers, though, and he sends it away.
85′ Alonso and Skrtel collide and both men are down on the pitch. Could you believe it if Liverpool came back with both Gerrard and Torres on the bench? Meanwhile, Arbeloa is off and Babel is on for Chelsea.
84′ Drogba gets a chance to put it out of reach, again. But his shot goes wide of the post.
83′ GOAL! You’ve got to be kidding me! Riera gets all kinds of room down the left flank as Ivanovic looks like he doesn’t want to get near him. He lifts a great cross into the center of the box and Kuyt sends a powerful header past Cech! Liverpool only need a goal now, and they’re through to the semis! I can’t believe this!
82′ I really need to go over the “own-goal” rule again, since that looked like an own-goal to me. Nothing against Lucas, but his shot was going towards the near post until Essien deflected it towards the far post. I’d understand if Essien barely touched it and it Lucas’ shot more or less went where he had intended, but I thought Essien clearly put that one past his own keeper.
81′ GOAL! Hell has frozen over as Lucas has scored! Looks like it could be an own-goal as it takes a wicked deflection off Essien and Cech doesn’t have a chance. Well, he’ll certainly take that one.
80′ Ballack and Drogba are talking it over, and it looks like Ballack really wants this one. He takes it and it’s wide of the near post. Meanwhile, Liverpool concede defeat as Torres will come off for Ngog.
79′ Drogba wins a free kick on the edge of the box, this time it’s on Lucas. They exchange words but it comes to nothing. Meanwhile, Ngog looks like he’s coming on for Liverpool.
78′ Looks like Juliano Belletti will be the man on the spot against Barca. That could be trouble for Chelsea.
76′ GOAL! Sloppy defending from Chelsea as Alonso gives it away on the edge of his own box and Ballack takes it. He sends it to Drogba, who makes a great run down the left edge of the box, and he sends it to Lampard, who is in front of Reina. He flicks it past Reina easily and that should be that.
75′ Torres goes down on the edge of the box, but he’s flagged offside. Meanwhile, he and Essien are jawing at each other, and Essien appears to put his hand on Torres’ face. No call, though, and it didn’t look like Essien was trying to slap him or anything.
73′ Good buildup from Liverpool and Lucas’ shot gets blocked on the edge of the box. Essien gets it and tries to key the counterattack, but the parade of yellow cards continues as Arbeloa is booked for the foul.
72′ Corner is knocked around a little and Ballack’s long-range shot gets blocked. Liverpool try to counterattack, but they end up giving it back. Skrtel then tackles Drogba from behind, and he’ll go into the book for the foul.
71′ Malouda makes a great run down the left and he splits the defense and looks like he has a clear path to goal. Skrtel recovers, though, and knocks it out for a corner.
70′ Brilliant turn from Torres and he unleashes a screamer from long range that easily beats Cech. It’s just wide, otherwise that would have been a goal. Torres has been quiet today, hasn’t he?
69′ Mascherano is off and Riera is on for Liverpool.
68′ The Ashley Cole suspension could really haunt them, since now Messi will have a free rein down that right side.
67′ Long pass to Drogba, and he leaves Carragher in the dust. He centers it to a trailing Ballack, and he sends a low shot on target that Reina manages to save. Ballack is shocked that he didn’t score, and so am I, actually.
65′ Ashley Cole goes into the book for leading with his elbow on Arbeloa, and he gets booked. What a stupid foul as he’ll miss the next match. On the free kick, Alonso sends a high, arching kick into the box and Cech punches it away. They’re smart to keep testing him, since he’s looked horrible.
63′ Mascherano goes for the shot from long range and Cech makes the save, but he sends it right to Benayoun. He has a chance, but Ivanovic does well to head it away from danger.
62′ Bayern are actually leading Barcelona right now. It’s 1-0 on a goal from Ribery. Could that key Bayern’s comeback? Doubt it.
61′ As I say that, there’s another Liverpool foul and Chelsea have another good chance from nearly the same place where Alex hit the previous kick. Alex gives it another go, but this one is blocked by the wall.
60′ Meanwhile, Carvalho gets booked. Not sure for what. Maybe for one of the eight thousand fouls being committed by both teams.
59′ Liverpool have a free kick now and Aurelio’s effort is cleared by the defense. It’s out to Benayoun, who is inside the box, but his shot is blocked.
57′ GOAL! Another foul on Liverpool as this ref seems intent on ruining this game. Chelsea have a free kick from the same area, but it’s a little further out. Alex steps up and hammers it past a helpless Reina and that should be enough to put Chelsea in the semis against Barcelona! Wow!
55′ Malouda wins a free kick from about 30 yards out, and Chelsea will have a chance to add to their lead. Drogba is staring at it with intent, but Ballack is standing over it, too. Drogba takes it and it’s a great strike, going just wide of the near post and hitting the side netting. For a moment, I actually thought it went in.
54′ Aurelio tries to tee up Lucas, but his header is well off the mark. Looks like the wind has certainly gone out of Liverpool’s sails…
52′ ESPN have given the goal to Drogba, but BBC has it as an own-goal. Looks like an own-goal to me, so I’ll keep it like that, for now.
51′ GOAL! A HUGE sigh of relief at Stamford Bridge as Anelka makes a great run down the right and sends a wicked cross towards a sliding Drogba. Reina can’t grab it and it looks like he touches it past the line for an own-goal! What a terrible mistake by the usually sure-handed Reina!
49′ Cole gets in deep down the left wing, but he loses his balance, and his cross is easily cut out by Carragher.
48′ Carvalho makes a mistake now, but he’s able to touch it back to Cech before any damage can come of it. Chelsea look like they’re falling apart.
47′ Another miscue from Cech as he comes out for the ball but can’t get to it. Lucas gets to it first, and he tries to tee up Kuyt at the far post. It’s out and it looks like Ashley Cole might have gotten the touch on it, but no dice. It’s a goal-kick and Chelsea have to be regretting their decision to sell Cudicini.
46′ Chelsea kick off and we’re underway! No changes for either side at the half.
46′ Bayern and Barca are scoreless. Maybe Klinsmann should have conceded defeat before the first leg.
Well, so much for the idea that Liverpool were a dead club walking going into this match. They’re one goal away from leading this tie, and they have all the momentum right now. Chelsea look shell-shocked and haven’t really gotten out of second-gear. Maybe these two goals are what they need to start playing the way they did a week ago. Guus Hiddink will have to work his magic at halftime, because Chelsea are on the verge of going out in humiliating fashion.
45′ + 1 There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime! The Stamford Bridge faithful less than thrilled with this display, and they serenade their team with boos. And no, they’re not chanting “Bluuuuuues!” This one ain’t over yet!
45′ Auerlio’s corner begets another, as Drogba concedes it. Alonso’s corner bounces around in the box, but Chelsea clear it. Alonso sends it back towards Kuyt, who gets a free header on goal. Cech is able to knock it away and it’s a great save. However the ball comes back into the center of the box towards Torres and Cech comes out to try and collect it. He whiffs on it, though, and he’s stranded in no man’s land! Luckily for him, the ref bails him and calls a foul on Liverpool. Chelsea dodged a big-time bullet there.
44′ Mascherano with a dangerous cross from deep down the right flank, but Carvalho gambles and knocks it out for a corner. It looked like he could have put that one in his own net.
43′ Benayoun draws the soft foul now and this is getting ridiculous. Alonso goes for goal from about 40 yards out, but it’s right into Cech’s hands.
42′ Well, Chelsea have certainly woken up a little. Too bad it took two goals to do it.
41′ Malouda sends in the free kick from the right wing towards the far post and Ivanovic tries to flick his header towards Carvalho. It’s just wide of the post, though, and Reina will kick it away.
40′ Long cross from Drogba towards Anelka, and he goes down from the Benayoun challenge. That looked soft, but, of course, the ref calls it.
39′ Arbeloa with a slight nudge on Lampard near the center-line, and that’s another foul. Man, this ref is really killing the flow of this game.
38′ Lampard with a free kick from about 40 yards out. He sends it towards the far post towards Anelka, but Reina comes out to collect it.
37′ Nothing doing on the corner as Liverpool are doing much better with their zonal marking today.
36′ Here comes Anelka and it’s for Kalou! Too bad I didn’t put money on that. Free kick from Chelsea goes towards Drogba in the box. He flicks it to Lampard, who is in front of goal, but it’s out for a Chelsea corner.
34′ Anelka is coming on for Chelsea. It’ll be interesting to see who comes off. I’m betting it’s Kalou.
33′ Essien gives up the corner on the other end and Liverpool will have a chance here. Nothing doing as Chelsea knock it away from danger and then Skrtel is called for the foul on Malouda.
32′ Corner to Chelsea after Benayoun tries and fails to keep it out. The corner is knocked out towards Essien, but he whiffs on the kick and Liverpool go on the counterattack.
31′ Essien goes down and Chelsea have a chance from about 35 yards out. This ref seems to be calling it very tightly, so it looks like both sides are going to be going to ground as much as possible.
30′ Ivanovic goes down in the box and he looks to be trying to make up for his mistake. No call from the ref, though. They show the replay of the earlier foul that led to the penalty, and it looked much worse on tape than it did live.
29′ I have to say, I don’t think Ivanovic should have been called for the penalty. It seemed like a really soft one to give.
28′ GOAL! Free kick for Liverpool close to where the Aurelio free kick occurred. It goes into the box and Arbeloa gets behind the defense and latches onto it, but the ref blows the whistle. Seems like it’s offside, but the ref points to the spot! It’s a foul on Ivanovic for throwing Alonso down in the box! Penalty to Liverpool! Alonso then steps up and calmly puts it past Cech! Game on!
27′ Alonso sends it through to Torres and he lays it back to Benayoun. Ivanovic gets a touch on it and sends it into his keeper’s hands. Liverpool players want a backpass, but no call from the ref. Looks like the Liverpool players have a point.
26′ Malouda’s delivery is poor and it sails into a sea of red-shirts.
25′ Essien with a hard run down the right flank, and Mascherano brings him down. Chelsea will have a free kick from about 35 yards out.
23′ Alonso threads a pass through the defense to Lucas, but Lucas was going the wrong way. Cech is out and he takes it easily.
22′ Chelsea have been playing very cautiously so far, keeping most of their players back. Let’s see if that goal changes anything…
19′ GOAL! Aurelio takes a clever kick as Chelsea overload the right side of the box anticipating the ball to come towards the far post. Aurelio has other ideas, though, and sends a nifty curling effort with his left foot that beats a bewildered Cech at the near post. Wow!
18′ Lampard is called for a foul in his own half and Liverpool have a chance from about 40 yards out. Seemed like a ticky-tack foul, but the ref seems to be calling it tight.
17′ Aurelio and Kalou get into a struggle deep down the left flank, and Kalou is called for a foul. From this position deep down the left wing, Liverpool basically have a corner. Nothing doing on the free kick as Chelsea manage to knock it away from danger.
16′ Malouda holds his run down the left flank and waits for Cole to make the run underneath him. He lays it off to Cole, who then whips in a hard cross from the left wing that has way too much pace on it and is out for a goal-kick.
14′ Chelsea get a free kick from about 30 yards out and Lampard decides to go for goal. It’s a good effort, curling past the wall and beating Reina before going agonizingly wide of the post.
13′ Kuyt finds Benyoun on the center edge of the box and he flicks it nicely to a charging Torres. He tries a shot on goal, but it’s just off the mark. Goal-kick to Chelsea.
11′ Arbeloa is fouled by Malouda on the right wing. Aurelio whips in the free kick from a good 45 yards out and Cech punches it away. Alonso gets to it on the left edge of the box, but his shot is blocked by Chelsea amid Liverpool appeals for handball. The ref isn’t having any of that, though.
10′ Alonso whips in the cross from the right wing, but Alex heads it away.
9′ Ballack tries to spring Drogba down the right flank and he looks like he’s still a little gimpy. Reina gets to the ball before Drogba can pounce on it and he kicks it away from danger.
7′ Drogba goes down again from the Lucas challenge, but play continues since Drogba was off the field when it happened. Drogba then rolls back onto the field to stop play and the Liverpool fans are giving him an earful. In all fairness, he does look like he’s limping a little.
6′ Mascherano tries to play it through to Benayoun, however Benayoun gets wrong-footed and the ball goes behind him.
5′ Finally, the clock is up! I’m not thrilled about Fox Soccer getting the Champions League, but let’s just say that they won’t have to do too much to improve on ESPN’s coverage.
4′ Drogba gets fouled by Arbeloa and Drogba goes down like he’s been shot. It was a foul, though, and Chelsea will kick it away from their own half.
3′ Kalou sends a long cross from the right flank towards the near post, but Reina takes it before Malouda can pounce on it. Meanwhile, ESPN’s annoying habit of not showing the clock early in the match rears its ugly head once again. So, until further notice, all times are approximations.
2′ Alex makes a mistake on the edge of his own box and he loses possession to Lucas. Ivanovic is there to cover for his teammate, though, and Chelsea have averted disaster. Meanwhile, Barcelona have already scored! Just kidding, but would you be surprised?
1′ Liverpool kick off and we’re underway! Luis Medina Cantalejo is our ref.
0′ Well, last week I mentioned how the Liverpool crowd continued singing while the Champions League anthem played over the P.A. system. Well, the Stamford Bridge crowd do one better and completely drown out the anthem. Very nice.
0′ The Chammmmm-pionnnnns!
0′ I was already skeptical as to whether Liverpool could overcome this deficit and that was when I assumed Gerrard would play. Now, I don’t think they have a chance. Still, if Torres or someone scores early in the first half, then it could get VERY interesting.
0′ For all the talk about the Hiddink Revolution at Chelsea, he’s really playing a similar system to what Scolari used. When Hiddink came aboard, everyone assumed that he would figure out a way to play Anelka and Drogba together. Now, he seems to have come to the same conclusion that both Scolari and Grant came to: it can’t be done. Instead, he’s using Kalou and Malouda on the wings much like Scolari did. Indeed, the only major changes, tactically, have been banishing Deco to the bench and getting Essien back. I’m not saying Hiddink hasn’t done a great job because he has. However, I think a lot of it has to do with improved communication with the players. Scolari was notoriously aloof and was known to throw players (like Cech) under the bus for a bad performance. Hiddink seems to have ended all of that and has earned his players’ trust.
0′ Alexander Hleb still can’t get into the starting lineup, even with Barcelona holding a 4-0 lead and the opposing manager conceding defeat. How’s that dream move working out for you, Alex?
0′ Looks like today’s matches could turn out to be a huge bust. Jurgen Klinsmann has already conceded his tie with Barcelona, and now it looks like Rafa is doing the same by not risking Gerrard. Can’t say that I disagree with the move. I mean, Liverpool will have a huge advantage in the League since they’ll have no other commitments to distract them. They need their best players healthy, and not having to worry about Cup competitions should give them plenty of time to heal between matches. Meanwhile, Chelsea will still be chasing the Treble, Manchester United (if they get past Porto – no guarantee there) will be spread thin, and Arsenal (assuming they advance) will be looking for a Cup Double.
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the UEFA Champions League clash between Liverpool and Chelsea! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger! I’m watching this match on ESPN. However, this match (as well as the Bayern Munich/Barcelona match) is available, on-line, at ESPN360. For information on how to access that fine service, feel free to consult this article. Click here for other, free, options.
Well, it wasn’t pretty, but Chelsea got the job done. After a disastrous first half, they looked like they were on the verge of an historical collapse. However, they answered the call in the second half, although they were certainly aided by a terrible howler from Pepe Reina. They’ll certainly have their hands full in the Semifinals against Barcelona. Cech looks like a shell of his former self, and he almost single-handedly put Liverpool into the Semis. Plus, they have a lot of defensive issues to sort through, especially since they’ll have Messi, Eto’o and Henry to deal with. They’ve given up 7 goals in a little over 110 minutes now. That’s not a recipe for success at any level of organized football.
As for Liverpool, it’s a devastating loss, especially since it looked like they were close to pulling off an improbable victory. However, it could actually be a blessing in disguise for them. We saw how invisible Torres was all game long without Gerrard. It’s vitally important for Liverpool to keep those two fit and healthy. Sure, they put four past Blackburn without Gerrard, and they shipped another four today against Chelsea, but they can’t win the League without their two best players. Without Champions League or F.A. Cup duty to distract them, Liverpool should be fresh and healthy for the stretch run. With a favorable schedule (they have Arsenal, Newcastle, and Tottenham at home and will visit Hull, West Brom, and West Ham) they’re definitely in the driver’s seat to win their first Premiership crown.
Man of the Match:
Much like in the first match, Drogba showed that, when he wants to be, he can be one of the best and most feared players in the world. Even though Drogba’s goal was more or less created by Anelka and botched by Reina, Drogba was the dominant player for Chelsea and frequently got the better of Carragher and Skrtel down the heart of Liverpool’s defense. He was involved in three out of Chelsea’s four goals and he and Anelka showed signs that they can, indeed, play together. Moreover, he was a constant threat inside the Liverpool box, just missing two other chances that would have given him a hat-trick. Lampard also played well, and Chelsea’s play picked up considerably once Anelka came in. As for Liverpool, Alonso played well despite committing a costly turnover that led to Chelsea’s third goal.