Chelsea’s ambitions of a top-four finish were ended in emphatic style after they lost 4-1 to Liverpool at Anfield tonight.
The convincing win and performance by Liverpool had to have Kenny Dalglish and the Liverpool fand wondering why they had not played like that on Saturday in the FA Cup Final when Chelsea beat them 2-1.
As for Chelsea, this was one of the Blues worst performances in the Roman Abramovich era. John Terry and Branislav Ivanoic in particular where terrible. Terry was directly responsible for two of Liverpool’s goals, was nutmegged three times in the opening 20 minutes and suffered through probably his worst outing as a Chelsea player.
Chelsea had no answer to Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. Carroll picked up where he left off at Wembley, physically dominating the two Chelsea center halves while nobody in a blue shirt could get close to Suarez.
It was Suarez who was responsible for Liverpool’s first goal when he cut in from the sideline, nutmegging Terry before squaring for Michael Essien to put through his own net.
Six minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead when John Terry fell over trying to clear Maxi’s harmless ball forward, and Jordan Henderson capitalised on his slip to calmly slotted past Ross Turnbull.
Two minutes later Andy Carroll beat Terry at the back post to head Shelvey’s corner back across goal to the unmarked Daniel Agger who headed home to give Liverpool a 3-0 lead.
It was one of the best 45 minutes of football that Liverpool have played at Anfield this season and they should have gone into half-time four up after Ivanoic elbowed Carroll in the chest but Stewart Downing missed the resulting penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Roberto Di Matteo must have given one hell of a team talk as Chelsea started the second half with a lot more energy and desire, and quickly cut the deficit to 3-1 when Florent Malouda’s devious delivery was bundled past Pepe Reina by Ramires.
But any thoughts that Chelsea had of getting back into the game were killed in the 61st minute when a horrible clearance from Turnbull allowed Jonjo Shelvey to score into an unmarked goal.
With the loss, Chelsea can no longer catch Newcastle or Spurs for that fourth and final Champions League spot. Their only hope of Champions League football next year is to beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final later this month. If they cannot do that, then Chelsea will be in the Europa League next season with Liverpool and Newcastle or Spurs.