Five Iconic Liverpool vs Chelsea moments that prove it is one of England’s biggest games

Liverpool take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final, and ahead of the big Wembley showpiece, we wonder whether it is going to follow the pattern of recent stalemates, including two cup final draws in 2022, or live up to its iconic past.

Before last month’s 4-1 win for Liverpool at Anfield, the two former European greats had drawn seven consecutive games, including the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals two years ago, both games ending goalless after extra-time before being settled when Liverpool won the penalty shoot-outs.

Klopp and Chelsea also have history

But rewind over the past 20 years and there used to be a bitter rivalry that would result in explosive moments and matches that lived long in the mind’s eye, a combination of excitement and chaos, from Petr Cech’s clawing save against Andy Carroll in the 2012 FA Cup final to Steven Gerrard’s costly slip in 2014.

Although the rivalry is dying down, compared to what it was during the 2000s, Sunday’s showpiece provides a good time to look back at the best moments between the two clubs.

Gronkjaer’s goal leads to Abramovich takeover – 2003

Jesper Gronkjaer’s winner for Chelsea in their winner-takes-all game on the last day of the 2002-03 season is arguably one of the most significant goals in Premier League history.

Heading into the final match of the season, both teams knew whoever won at Stamord Bridge would qualify for the Champions League, and it was labelled the ‘£20million match’.

Sami Hyppia put the Reds ahead, but after Marcel Desailly equalised and Danish winger Gronkjaer netted the winner, Chelsea were into the Champions League for the first time, and only then did the financial implications hit home. The prospect of elite European football confirmed Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who had looked at other clubs, and he subsequently bought Chelsea, wiping out the debts of £80million that threatened to put the club in administration, and the rest is history.

When he scored, Gronkjaer didn’t have a clue how influential his goal was, but after two Champions Leagues, five Premier Leagues and FA Cups it has all become clear now.

Luis Garcia’s Ghost Goal – 2005

After Liverpool missed out on the Champions League at Chelsea’s expense two years earlier, it would be the Reds that would inflict European misery on Chelsea in controversial fashion in 2005.

In the two years under Abramovich’s reign, Chelsea reached the semi-final of the Champions League twice, losing to Monaco in 2004 and then facing Liverpool a year later, with Jose Mourinho at the helm.

Mourinho had won the Champions League the previous year with Porto, and after moving to Stamford Bridge, had won Chelsea’s first league title in 50 years. Now he wanted another Champions League final.

After a scrappy goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, Chelsea travelled to Anfield and within three minutes Luis Garcia’s shot towards goal appeared to have been cleared by William Gallas before it crossed the line. But Slovakian refereeLubos Michel awarded a goal, Liverpool held on and went to Istanbul for a famous final against AC Milan, when they came back from 3-0 down to win

It was the only goal across the 180 minutes of football, and the Reds went on to lift the trophy after coming back from three goals against AC Milan to win the trophy on penalties.

The Luis Suarez bite – 2013

This wasn’t the last time – when FIFA punished Suarez’s 2014 World Cup bite

The previous two incidents were about goals and the aftermath of them, but this incident eclipsed the whole sporting aspect of the game.

For the second time in Luis Suarez’s career, the Uruguayan bit an opponent, this time Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. This one went unnoticed by referee Kevin Friend, and Suarez went on to score the equaliser in the seventh minute of added time. But his bite on the shoulder of Ivanovic was caught on camera and Suarez was retrospectively banned for 10 games.

It wasn’t the last time Suarez would chomp into an opponent, as a year later he attacked Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil and the Uruguayan striker received a four-month ban.

Steven Gerrard’s Slip – 2014

A painful day for Liverpool…

Steve Gerrard had gone close to joining Jose Mourinho’s Blues in 2005 before a last-minute change of mind meant the Liverpool captained stayed put at Anfield for the majority of his career.

But Gerrard’s most famous moment came when they faced Mourinho again in his second stint as the Chelsea boss in a match that had huge implications on the 2013-14 title race.

Liverpool hadn’t won a league title for 24 years at that point but were ahead of Manchester City in the title race, and a win over Chelsea at Anfield would put themselves in the driving seat.

Mourinho set Chelsea up to frustrate and they finally got their break when Gerrard miss-controlled a simple pass in his own half, slipped in front of the on-rushing Demba Ba, and watched helplessly as the Blues striker slotted the ball past Simon Mignolet.

Willian would double the lead in the final moments of the match, as Mourinho ran down the touchline and pumped his chest and Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers were left to rue Liverpool’s loss.

The Reds failed to regroup after that moment and lost the league to Manchester City, with Gerrard ending his career without a Premier League winnners’ medal.

Liverpool lifting their first Premier League trophy – 2020

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It took six years for Liverpool to finally put an end to their league drought, and having already won the trophy with seven games to spare, after Chelsea beat Manchester City 2-1, they had to wait until their final home game to final lift the trophy.

The Reds celebrated in thrilling fashion beating Chelsea 5-3, but as much as the action on the pitch was exciting, the Liverpool fans watching on from TV during the Covid lockdown only really cared about the ceremony afterwards.

In an empty Anfield, Jordan Henderson received the Premier League trophy from Liverpool legend Sir Kenny Daglish and brought an end to a 30-year search for league success.

Since the eight-goal showing there have been 16 goals in the 10 games afterwards, with the intense rivalry between the two fans and players slowly dissipating over the years. 

Will it resurface at Wembley on Sunday? Let’s hope so!

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