Home » EPL, Featured, Latest » Match Report: Liverpool 4 Chelsea 1

Liverpool exacted a measure of revenge for their FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea with a comprehensive victory at Anfield that ends the Blues’ hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The home side, who lost 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday, netted three times in nine minutes through a Michael Essien own goal, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger to take total control before Stewart Downing missed a penalty to make it 4-0 on the stroke of half-time.

Downing had also earlier struck the crossbar while the nearest a much-changed Chelsea came to scoring was when Fernando Torres, on his first return to Anfield following his £50 million move south last January, also hit the bar from a tight angle as the Blues’ hopes of a top-four finish were all-but extinguished.

With his team the outsiders to finish in the top four, manager Roberto di Matteo made numerous alterations to the team which won the FA Cup against the Reds on Saturday as this month’s Champions League final against Bayern Munich is his primary focus.

Liverpool made four changes from their team, with captain Steven Gerrard absent from the squad but Wembley goalscorer Andy Carroll returning to the line-up.

Unlike Wembley’s FA Cup final Liverpool actually turned up on time for this occasion and Luis Suarez created the first opportunity with a clever nutmeg through Terry’s legs but he dragged his shot across stand-in goalkeeper Ross Turnbull and wide of the far post.

The changes Di Matteo made had obviously had a disruptive effect and Paulo Ferreira looked slightly off his game as, having already fouled Andy Carroll, he was booked for bringing down Suarez.

Carroll was next to threaten after Suarez had brought down Jose Reina’s long clearance but the big striker opted for placement over power from just outside the penalty area.

Hitting the woodwork has been Liverpool’s prerogative this season but they were saved by the post in the 17th minute when Branislav Ivanovic planted a free header against the post.

But in an eight-minute spell the hosts virtually put the game out of sight with three goals almost from nowhere.

First Suarez produced a brilliant run from wide on the right to get to the byline and his cut-back was turned in by Michael Essien.

A slip from Terry put Jordan Henderson through on goal to curl a low shot past Turnbull and then, in the 28th minute, Carroll headed down a corner for Daniel Agger to nod in from close range.

Terry’s night was rapidly turning into one the England defender will want to forget and his mistake from a header following a long clearance allowed Carroll to race through, but on this occasion Turnbull helped save his team-mate’s blushes with a good parry.

Almost immediately Torres fashioned himself a shooting chance at the other end and he was unlucky to see his thunderous drive from a tight angle smash against the underside of the crossbar and stay out.

While Chelsea were starting to threaten more as an attacking force, Liverpool were still looking for more goals and Downing saw a deflected shot go wide before the same player fired in a dipping 25-yard thunderbolt that hit the top of the crossbar.

Downing spurned a gilt-edged chance to make it 4-0 in first-half injury time when he fired a penalty against the post after Carroll had gone down under a challenge by Ivanovic as they challenged for a deep cross.

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo opted against making any changes at the break and his faith in his players was rewarded in the 50th minute when the visitors gave themselves a lifeline by pulling a goal back through Ramires, who scored the opener in the cup final.

Florent Malouda curled in a free-kick from the right edge of the penalty area which Ramires managed to bundle past Reina at his near post, the ball coming off the Chelsea man’s waist.

Liverpool sought to restore their three-goal lead soon after but Martin Skrtel’s low shot was parried by Turnbull.

A Turnbull mistake on the hour did allow Liverpool to net a fourth though, as his poor clearance went straight to the unmarked Jonjo Shelvey 30 yards out in the centre of the pitch and the midfielder found the back of an unguarded net with a perfectly-struck half-volley.

Di Matteo made the first substitution of the match in the 68th minute when he sent on Romelu Lukaku for Daniel Sturridge.

Lukaku should have made an immediate impression but his close-range header was superbly saved by Reina on his line.

Liverpool were soon back on the attack and a deep cross from Glen Johnson picked out Carroll unmarked in the area, but the former Newcastle striker sliced his attempted volley well wide off his shin.

Carroll then saw a cross-shot land on the roof of the net as the Reds sought more goals.

Suarez and Essien both failed to trouble the respective goalkeepers with long-range free-kicks before Liverpool made a double change in the 83rd minute, Dirk Kuyt and teenager Raheem Sterling replacing Maxi Rodriguez and Downing

Sterling was immediately in the action but, after being given a shooting chance by Suarez’s headed through-ball, his first touch saw him smash the ball high and wide.

Henderson’s 25-yard effort was deflected wide late on before Suarez just failed to finish off a good link-up with Kuyt and Agger headed inches wide as Liverpool finished strongly on a good night for Kenny Dalglish’s men.

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