We went minute-by-minute as Liverpool looked to avenge their FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea.
Hello, and welcome to this evening’s liveblog.
Liverpool and Chelsea are probably sick of the sight of each other at this stage, nonetheless the Premier League fixture calendar dictates that they must meet again tonight.
Here are your teams:
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Agger, Downing, Henderson, Shelvey, Maxi, Suarez, Carroll. Subs: Doni, Coates, Kuyt, Spearing, Sterling, Kelly, Bellamy.
Chelsea: Turnbull, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Essien, Romeu, Ramires, Sturridge, Malouda, Torres. Subs: Hilario, Cole, Lampard, Mata, Lukaku, Kalou, Hutchinson.
For a comprehensive preview of this game, click here.
You’ll notice there’s no Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool team tonight. Kenny Dalglish has told Sky he has “a back strain,” but indicates it isn’t particularly serious.
Chelsea also have a few notable absentees, as they are clearly saving a number of players for the Champions League final.
Just to verify that Chelsea need to win tonight to keep their feint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League (via the league at least) alive.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have little to play for other than their pride.
And we’re off…
It’s been a fairly low key opening to the game – very much has an end-of-season feel to it so far.
First half-chance for Liverpool. Luis Suarez does well to nutmeg Terry, before dragging his shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly given that Chelsea have more to play for and also have the extra confidence provided by their FA Cup victory, Liverpool look more up for this game so far.
Kenny Dalglish’s side have had the lion’s share of the possession and the majority of the game has been played in the visitors’ half.
Cynical foul by Ferreira on Suarez to stop the Uruguayan international starting a counter-attack. The full-back is rightly booked for what was a professional foul.
Meanwhile, for Chelsea, Ivanovic has just hit the post with a header from a corner.
GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL!
It’s an own goal from Essien, but that goal was all about Luis Suarez. The striker went on a mesmerising run from the touchline, nutmegging John Terry (again), before his cross is deflected in off the Ghanaian.
A clearly frustrated John Terry has just been booked for a clumsy challenge, after being nutmegged for the third time already tonight.
It’s been a bit of a nightmare start for the England defender.
GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL!
John Terry slips to allow Jordan Henderson to run through unchallenged and finish neatly into the corner.
As I said, it hasn’t been the best of starts for Terry.
GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL!
A downward header from a corner by Carroll falls to Agger, who heads it over the Chelsea defender and into the net.
Chelsea simply are not at the races at the moment, while Liverpool fans may legitimately ask why their side hasn’t played this way throughout the season.
Another mistake by Terry has let Carroll through on goal, but Turnbull does well to get down and save the big man’s shot.
At the other end, a powerful Torres shot hits the crossbar.
You can’t take your eyes off this game at the moment.
Downing almost scores his first Premier League goal of the season, as his half volley from outside the box hits the crossbar.
It seems that Liverpool, and in particular their new signings, are belatedly beginning to deliver on the promise they were expected to fulfill from the start of the season.
Here is one of the three nutmegs that Terry has been on the receiving end of tonight:
YouTube credit: weedman111
PENALTY MISSED FOR LIVERPOOL!
Downing still hasn’t scored this season, as his penalty hits the post and is cleared by Chelsea.
Before that, Ivanovic was booked for impeding Carroll from getting to a Henderson cross, conceding the penalty in the process. The referee undoubtedly made the correct decision in that instance.
HALF-TIME: LIVERPOOL 3-0 CHELSEA
So at half-time, Liverpool deservedly lead Chelsea 3-0.
From the very start of this game, they looked the sharper, more determined side and it’s one of the few occasions this season where they’ve played to their potential.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have reinforced many people’s suspicions that they aren’t taking this game particularly seriously, just as their team selection had initially suggested.
Yet irrespective of the importance (or lack thereof) they’ve attached to this game, Chelsea will be concerned at their all-too-frequent defensive lapses, and in particular, the below-par performance by John Terry.
While we’re waiting for the second half, here’s a quick poll:
Do Liverpool’s relatively recent signings (such as Carroll and Henderson) deserve another season to prove their worth?
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Liverpool have not missed this man tonight (Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images):
The second half is underway…
GOAL FOR CHELSEA!
A Chelsea free-kick on the edge of the box is directed towards Ramires, and it hits off the totally unmarked Brazilian’s thigh and goes in through Reina’s legs.
That was a very soft goal for Liverpool to concede. Dalglish will not be happy.
Liverpool are starting to look slightly nervous, as Chelsea threaten to mount an unlikely comeback.
It’s easily the London club’s best spell of the game so far – by which I mean, it’s the only period in which they haven’t been totally inept in practically every department.
GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL!
Another defensive howler from Chelsea, as Turnbull kicks his clearance straight to Shelvey, and the midfielder makes no mistake with his finish, drilling it consummately into the net from about 30 yards out.
With less than half an hour left now, there appears to be no way back for Chelsea.
If they want to qualify for the Champions League, it looks like Di Matteo’s men will have to do it the hard way.
Here’s a look at that Shelvey goal:
YouTube credit: FastHighlightsHD7
Lukaku’s close-range header is superbly saved by Reina to prevent Chelsea from grabbing another consolation goal.
Notwithstanding Reina’s excellent reaction, the so-called ‘new Didier Drogba’ should have done better.
Ivanovic goes down theatrically after Suarez’s swinging arm appears to connect with his face as he attempts to shield the ball away for a goal kick.
The clearly unhappy defender refuses to accept Suarez’s offer of a handshake once he eventually arises to his feet.
Essien woefully overhits a free-kick in a decent position – it’s been that kind of a night for the visitors.
If some of the Chelsea players playing tonight have aspirations to feature in the Champions League final, they are ostensibly playing themselves out of contention with their performances tonight.
The injured midfielder is impressed by what he sees:
Good interplay from Suarez and Kuyt around the box, before the former fails to properly connect with his shot, scuffing it just wide.
Meanwhile, Andy Carroll, despite not scoring, has been named man of the match. I personally would have gone for Suarez, who has caused the visitors problems all night, and set the tempo for the game with his fantastic run for the first goal.
FULL-TIME: LIVERPOOL 4-1 CHELSEA
So owing to tonight’s result, Liverpool are up to eight position in the league, while Chelsea will definitely finish sixth. Europa League consequently beckons for Roberto Di Matteo’s men should they fail to win the Champions League.
Sky’s Graeme Souness believes some of Liverpool’s players have not been able to cope with “the burden” of playing for the club, given its history.
(Downing misses a penalty – Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images)
Dalglish calls the game “a satisfactory evening”. He adds that the performance is “on a par with others this season,” but claims that “we just haven’t had the luck”.
He claims the fans “understand better than anybody” how “unlucky” they’ve been.
Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll are now being interviewed by Sky.
Henderson says that “maybe there was a little bit of revenge we wanted to get” (in reference to their cup final loss).
He admits that he “needs to score more,” but claims he is “happy overall” with his season.
Carroll also says he is “happy” with his season, explaining that he’s “been through a lot”.
Roberto Di Matteo says “Liverpool were better tonight,” adding that “they scored at the right time”.
He claims he has “no regrets,” in reference to his decision to rest a number of Chelsea’s regular first-team players.
He says “I don’t know,” when asked if he’ll play his first-team regulars in the club’s last game of the season.
Alright, that’s it from me, I’m off to bed. Thanks again for reading and commenting.