Sun 21 Apr 2013 16:00 (Attendance: 45,009)
The second of two away league games in a row takes the Blues to face the Merseyside Reds. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton follow up the Fulham game…
This fixture carries less importance than it has for a few years - Liverpool are now 11 points behind Chelsea in the chase for UEFA places, having also played one more match. Two coaches also face former sides for whom they understandably retain great affection.
Never the less the legacy of 24 often-decisive games in five seasons between 2004 and 2009 should ensure an intense atmosphere for Brendan Rogers' 50th Liverpool match.
Having moved back up to third, Chelsea have much to play for and defend, while fellow contenders Everton, Arsenal and Tottenham have tricky games too. It is important the Pensioners gain points here for the first time since 2010.
A repeat of the Chelsea Under-18s' 2-0 FA Youth Cup semi-final win at Anfield a week ago would be welcome. The return leg in that tie is at the Bridge tonight (Friday) with the holders aiming to reach a fourth final in six seasons. Norwich City's youngsters lie in wait for the victors.
Chelsea are the third most successful club in this competition, having won it four times: 1960, 1961, 2010 and 2012.
The senior Blues arrive on Merseyside on the back of a first away league win since Stoke in January. All three goals in the efficient victory at Fulham came from centre-backs John Terry and David Luiz.
The goals tally for Chelsea defenders in all competitions this season now stands at 27 - seven for Branislav Ivanovic, six each for Terry and Gary Cahill, David Luiz weighs in with five, Ryan Bertrand two and Ashley Cole one.
That means the back four has contributed 21% of all goals scored so far this campaign. Terry actually took his career total to 55 - fewer than Lionel Messi, perhaps, but more than Andrés Iniesta.
With a possible nine further fixtures to play the Blues are on course to surpass the record-breaking 2009/10 Double-winning season.
Most Chelsea goals in a season
142 in 2009/10
129 in 2012/13
121 in 1964/65
117 in 1960/61 and 2006/07
112 in 2011/12
110 in 2008/09
David Luiz reached 100 appearances against Fulham, and Frank Lampard his 600th. Just two Chelsea players have previously reached that milestone: three-decades goalkeeper Peter Bonetti and two-times trophy winning skipper Ron Harris.
Between them the other two 600 Club members notched 14 goals (all from 'Chopper'), compared to Lampard's 200 and counting. It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance of Super Frank in our club's history.
After drawing at Upton Park, Manchester United's maximum possible points total this season falls to 96. Sir Alex Ferguson had publicly challenged his team to beat the all-time haul of 95, set by Jose Mourinho's Chelsea in 2004/05 but unless they win all five remaining matches the Red Devils will now fall just short.
In the quest for Champions League places Spurs also face a difficult test at home to last season's champions. Man City have won all four of their recent encounters.
Fulham drew 3-3 at the Emirates earlier this season, ex-Spurs man Berbatov grabbing two, and they will fancy their chances of spiking the Gunners again at Craven Cottage.
Sunderland hit form last weekend just at the wrong time for Everton, who impressed in Tuesday's 0-0 draw at Arsenal. However the Mackems have not licked the Toffees for almost 12 years.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Fulham v Arsenal 3pm
Norwich v Reading 3pm
QPR v Stoke 3pm
Sunderland v Everton 3pm
Swansea v Southampton 3pm
West Brom v Newcastle 3pm
West Ham v Wigan 3pm
Tottenham v Manchester City 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Liverpool v Chelsea 4pm Sky Sports
Manchester United v Aston Villa 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top half|
|The race for the Champions League - Games remaining|
|Chelsea (6)||Arsenal (5)||Tottenham (6)|
|Liverpool (a)||Fulham (a)||Man City (h)|
|Swansea (h)||Man Utd (h)||Wigan (a)|
|Man Utd (a)||QPR (a)||Southampton (h)|
|Tottenham (h)||Wigan (h)||Chelsea (a)|
|Aston Villa (a)||Newcastle (a)||Stoke (a)|
|Everton (h)||Sunderland (h)|
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
Former Blue Clive Walker, who knows all about scoring against and beating Liverpool, explores how Chelsea might return home with all three points on Sunday.
'I always have good memories of playing Liverpool - especially at Stamford Bridge in the famous 1978 FA Cup game of course. We often played well at Anfield too and enjoyed it but never won. You always felt Liverpool were superior to us - the bee's knees who won something every year.
'Now the roles are reversed somewhat and they always raise their game against us even though it may not make too much difference to the outcome of their season. There's a lot to play for Chelsea now though. Points can drift all over the place in these last few crucial weeks so we have to be focused.
'We can take a few things from the Fulham win. We looked a unit at Craven Cottage - we'll need the same on Sunday. It helped we were organised across the back with John Terry back to full fitness, David Luiz looking arguably the best centre-back in the league and Petr Cech making saves, catching crosses. That solidity inspires confidence. It gives the other players more freedom to express themselves.
'After Wednesday our opponents must also be worried about our attacking threat. Twenty-seven really is a terrific lot of goals to come from your defence; extraordinary really.
'The goals are coming from everywhere and that is to our advantage. With Liverpool Luís Suarez has had most shots on and off target this season. He's scored almost 40% of their goals and Steven Gerrard is not far behind.
'I was talking to someone from the Liverpool area the other day and we were recalling the criticism that when Fernando Torres was there Liverpool were a two-man team with him and Gerrard. And maybe it's Gerrard and Suarez now.
'We have others who can weigh in: Torres, Eden Hazard, Demba Ba, Ramires, Frank Lampard still doing it, as well as the back four. Any team that relies on two scorers will have days when it doesn't work, when the opposition work you out and get lucky.
'Liverpool's two straight 0-0s suggest they're still working on the plan c and d. That said, Suarez is a wonderful, hard-working striker, one of the best in the country purely and simply on the goals.
'Whatever you think about him he has passion and that goes a long way for them and breaks boundaries. Chelsea have two strikers bang in form. Rafael Benitez has played the two together in the last two matches but he's only really done it as substitutions to change shape, rest other players and keeping the opposition guessing. I don't imagine we are switching to 4-4-2 all of a sudden.
'There are questions over how good a season Daniel Agger is having for Liverpool alongside Martin Skrtel or even Jamie Carragher. Carragher is in the twilight as he's retiring and he wants to leave everything on the pitch when he's gone. He's experienced, absolutely wholehearted and Agger benefits from that.
'Ba or Torres, one on one against Carragher, you'd expect them to beat him for pace and Agger can have a mistake in him. Likewise Glen Johnson, who's been back on the right recently, with Enrique left. We know Johnson has pace and is a threat going forward but he can be vulnerable defensively.
'Eden Hazard against anyone at the moment is going to be interesting. He and Juan Mata have joint most assists over the league campaign with 14. They should see the situation and spaces between Lucas Lleiva and the defence and will adapt to exploit that.
'Last season Liverpool started the game with their tails up. We were slow to respond and three goals down before we knew it. That cannot happen again.'
Liverpool have no fresh injuries. Former Blue Fabio Borini and Joe Allen are out with shoulder injuries and Raheem Sterling (thigh) and Martin Kelly (knee) are also missing.
Click on tabs above for more briefing.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Liverpool are looking to extend their unbeaten Premier League run against Chelsea to six games. The 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in November ended a sequence of four Liverpool league victories against the Blues.
How Chelsea could do with a repeat of October 2005, when José Mourinho was in charge of the Blues and Rafael Benitez was at the Liverpool helm.
Back then, an emphatic win at Anfield reasserted the Premier League champions' domestic dominance following a 0-0 Champions League draw at the same stadium the five days earlier.
The hosts made just one change from the Wednesday - striker Djibril Cissé making way for defender-cum-wideman John Arne Riise - while the league leaders recalled Joe Cole and Asier Del Horno for Arjen Robben and Paulo Ferreira, William Gallas swapping sides at full-back.
Some bookmakers had already decided to pay out on Chelsea retaining the title and their judgment did not look premature once Mourinho's men had shaken off Blues target Steven Gerrard's equaliser in a sometimes ill-tempered encounter.
Frank Lampard had struck the first blow from the spot inside half an hour after Djimi Traore had clumsily felled Didier Drogba in the box.
Drogba had been clattered and was hobbling back, not there to defend the corner that Gerrard eventually dispatched.
The Ivorian made amends shortly before half-time, monstering Steve Finnan and Sami Hyppia before setting Damien Duff (pictured below) up to score off the inside of the far post.
After the break Liverpool came out and attacked, allowing the Londoners to show their devastating efficiency on the counter, with Drogba the destroyer.
The home side were reduced to Riise hurling long throws in towards Peter Crouch - to no avail.
With skill and power Drogba created Chelsea's third for Cole midway through the second half, then set up a fourth for Gérémi with eight minutes to go.
Mourinho's Blues went on to complete back-to-back league title wins as the bookmakers predicted.
Last season Liverpool achieved the double against Chelsea for the third time in four seasons.
Chelsea have won four and drawn one of our last nine Premier League games at Anfield which is some feat as the previous 60 league matches only saw five Blues wins.
After a 3-2 win in 1935, we endured 56 years of leaving Anfield without maximum points. The game in February 1992 brings back happy memories of Vinnie Jones's 25-yard opener and Dennis Wise's winner after Ronnie Rosenthal equalised for Liverpool. Both Blues were ex-Wimbledon players. One Merseyside newspaper used the headline: 'Reds Mugged By Crazy Gang.'
Our last 10 away league meetings at Anfield
2002/03 - Liverpool won 1-0
2003/04 - Chelsea won 2-1
2004/05 - Chelsea won 1-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 4-1
2006/07 - Liverpool won 2-0
2007/08 - Drew 1-1
2008/09 - Liverpool won 2-0
2009/10 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Liverpool won 2-0
2011/12 - Liverpool won 4-1
The reverse fixture this season
11 November 2012 Barclays Premier League
Terry 19 Suárez 72
Liverpool v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 165
Chelsea wins 57
Liverpool wins 74
Head to head in the League at Anfield
Games played 69
Chelsea wins 9
Liverpool wins 46
Biggest league win at Anfield for each team
Liverpool 6-0 Chelsea - 20/04/1935
Liverpool 1-4 Chelsea - 25/12/1907 & 02/10/2005
Chelsea won the league: 1,078
Liverpool won the league: 8,386
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,891
Visit again tomorrow for more brieifing.
Our win at Craven Cottage on Wednesday was our first away victory in the Premier League since the 4-0 at Stoke in January.
The Blues have opened the scoring in 21 Premier League matches which is a higher percentage than any other club. We have gone on to win 16 games and draw four. Only West Ham have defeated us.
Chelsea are seven points better off compared to the corresponding 32 fixtures last season.
We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term and dropped 14 points from winning positions.
|Last six results|
|Apr 1||Manchester United (FA Cup h)||W 1-0|
|Apr 4||Rubin Kazan (Europa League a)||W 3-1|
|Apr 7||Sunderland (h)||W 2-1|
|Apr 11||Rubin Kazan (Europa League a)||L 2-3|
|Apr 14||Manchester City (FA Cup Wembley)||L 1-2|
|Apr 17||Fulham (a)||W 3-0|
Premier League scorers
Lampard 12 (4 pens), Mata 10, E Hazard 8 (1 pen), Torres 7 (1 pen), Ivanovic 5, Ramires 4, Terry 4, Ba 2, Cahill 2, D Luiz 2, Cole 1, Marin 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1 (pen), Sturridge 1, own goals 3. Total 64
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 4
An away defeat: 1
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Thu 25 Apr||Basel (Europa League SF) away||8.05pm|
|Sun 28 Apr||Swansea home||3pm|
|Thu 2 May||Basel (Europa League SF) home||8.05pm|
Frank Lampard needs two goals to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling on 202.
18 League championships, last in 1990
7 FA Cups, last in 2006
8 League Cups, last in 2012
15 FA Charity/Community Shields (5 shared), last in 2006
5 European Cups, last in 2005
3 UEFA Cups, last in 2001
3 UEFA Super Cups, last in 2005
Liverpool's last top-flight title was in the old First Division 23 years ago when a points total of 79 was enough to lift the trophy in 1990.
At home this term they have won 28 points from a possible 48 with eight wins against Reading, Wigan, Southampton, Fulham, Sunderland, Norwich, Swansea and Tottenham, four draws against Man City, Stoke, Newcastle and West Ham and four defeats to Arsenal, Man Utd, Aston Villa and West Brom.
Liverpool are the fourth highest scorers in the Premier League this term with 59 goals.
They have only conceded 14 goals from the 16 league games at home. Only Chelsea (13) and Man City (11) can better that.
Manager Brendan Rodgers
Days in charge: 324
|Liverpool's last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Mar 2||Wigan (a)||W 4-0|
|Mar 10||Tottenham (h)||W 3-2|
|Mar 16||Southampton (a)||L 1-3|
|Mar 31||Aston Villa (a)||W 2-1|
|Apr 7||West Ham (h)||D 0-0|
|Apr 13||Reading (a)||D 0-0|
Premier League scorers
Suárez 22, Gerrard 9 (4 pens), Sturridge 4 (1 pen), Downing 3, Henderson 3, Agger 2, Coutinho 2, Enrique 2, Skrtel 2, Sterling 2, Cole 1, Johnson 1, Şahin 1, Shelvey 1, own goals 4. Total 59
League games since
A home win: 1
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 3
Liverpool's completed January transfers
Ins Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea, undisclosed), Philippe Coutinho (Inter Milan, £8.5m)
Outs Joe Cole (West Ham, free), Alexander Doni (Botafogo, undisclosed), Daniel Pacheco (Huesca, loan), Nuri Sahin (Real Madrid, loan return), Michael Ngoo (Hearts, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Kevin Friend is refereeing Chelsea for the fourth occasion this term and the second successive time at Anfield. He was the official against West Brom at Stamford Bridge in March, at Swansea in the Premier League in November and the Community Shield against Manchester City at Villa Park.
There are no suspensions.
The deadline for players receiving a suspension for accruing 10 cautions has now passed.
The Blues were denied consecutive away wins in the closing seconds of the game so remain fourth in the table.
In match that came to life after half-time, Chelsea took the lead midway through the opening period, Oscar scoring from a corner, but Liverpool hit back soon after the interval through Daniel Sturridge who had not started the game.
Our former striker continued to cause problems and Liverpool had the better of the closing stages, but by then were behind to an Eden Hazard penalty, given away by Luis Suarez. The Liverpool striker's afternoon will be under the microscope after what TV shots appeared to show was a bite on the arm of Branislav Ivanovic, but the Uruguayan also made the final impact on the match by heading in a late, late equaliser.
There were three changes to the side that beat Fulham, one in defence, one in midfield and one out wide where Oscar came in for Victor Moses.
Unlike Fernando Torres who was given the nod, Sturridge was denied the opportunity to start against his former team. Stewart Downing played instead in Liverpool's only change.
Tottenham's home win over Manchester City earlier in the day only emphasised the need for something from this game with the north Londoners pulling level with us on points before kick-off.
There were good early signs for the visitors. Inside two minutes Torres looked to have nipped in behind the tumbling Daniel Agger onto a high ball forward but was harshly whistled up for a foul. The first real chance was Liverpool's however, when Glen Johnson was allowed to run unchecked onto a ball played behind David Luiz. Fortunately the former Chelsea right-back paddled his shot wide.
The Blues were bright on 10 minutes, Ramires nutmegging his compatriot Lucas and allowing Mata and Hazard to win a corner, but the Reds defence dealt with that comfortably. That would not always be the case over the 90 minutes.
Hazard broke through a challenge in the centre of the park and went at the Liverpool backline, and Mata was involved in the move too but Oscar poked his eventual shot at Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal. It was for the most part an even first 20 minutes of the game.
Ramires drew an unconvincing double-fisted punch from Reina, straight back out into play, with a crisp strike and that signalled the start of a period of good control for the visitors.
The reward was the opening goal with 25 minutes played. A typically forceful Hazard run down the right won a corner and when Mata played it towards the near-post area, Liverpool defenders were caught on their heels.
Oscar wasn't! Running towards the ball, his header was guided beyond Reina who couldn't quite keep it out.
The Liverpool keeper was only a whisker away from conceding a second goal soon after when what looked a straight-forward free-kick to pouch from David Luiz escaped his grasp. The keeper pushed it away a foot or so from crossing the line in front of the Kop.
Petr Cech, in contrast seconds later, was sharp in coming off his line to snuff out danger when Liverpool looked to have created a clear chance.
Brendan Rodgers' side, whose general play was quite low in tempo, had looked threatening when quickening the pace around our penalty area, but the opening goal notably knocked their belief. Time and time again we won the ball back in their half of the pitch, through a combination of good pressing and Liverpool sloppiness.
Torres, again masked for the match, was booked for an aerial challenge on Jamie Carragher before the home side did go close. A pass down the right found Suarez 's good run but Cech saved well at his near-post. That was Liverpool's best opportunity of the first 45 minutes.
Rodgers made a half-time switch - Sturridge for Coutinho - and the impact was almost instant. The former Chelsea man raced past Mikel and supplied Gerrard who eight yards out, looked certain to score. Somehow Cech stretched his leg to save with his boot. It was a fantastic stop. There were less than 20 seconds of the half gone.
Liverpool were invigorated and in between two undefended balls across our six-yard box, Sturridge rifled a shot against the post. Chelsea were rocking and Cech saved a header from Agger although the whistle went for a foul anyway.
Sturridge got his goal on 51 minutes, in the right place to turn a Suarez cross past Cech from close range. We needed to quickly get to grips with the new man on the pitch.
Azpilicueta was booked for a deliberate handball near halfway but it was another handball just two minutes later that was to have more impact on the game. Suarez was turning away as a Mata corner dropped into a crowd but his arm was up above his head when it made contact with the ball.
Hazard dispatched the penalty low into the bottom corner, giving penalty-saving expert Reina little chance. We had regained the lead with 35 minutes to play.
Carragher, only just booked for a foul on Torres, or possibly for the reaction to the decision, was given a free-kick when he challenged for a dropping ball with Ivanovic and David Luiz. It was only a foot outside our penalty area and dead central. This was concerning and there was a big cheer from the Chelsea fans at the other end of the pitch when Suarez blasted it wide.
Liverpool were getting stronger as the game entered its final quarter. It was also compelling viewing. Cech crucially cut out a Gerrard cross after a rampaging run from the Liverpool skipper.
The home defence had looked uneasy at Chelsea corners on several occasions and when one was poorly cleared, Hazard's powerful shot was only prevented from hitting the net by a deflection over the bar from Lucas, who knew little about it.
Benitez made his first change on 77 minutes, bringing on Benayoun for Hazard. Liverpool introduced Jonjo Shelvey who was booked straight away for a foul on Oscar that resulted in the Brazilian hobbling out of the game.
The Liverpool substitute's cameo got even worse when he missed a sitter with eight minutes to play. Sturridge and Henderson opened up the Chelsea defence but Shelvey shot wide from close range.
Ivanovic threw himself in the way of a shot from the same player but there were still six minutes stoppage time to negotiate against Liverpool who were now on top.
We looked to have succeed but the added period became six-and-a-half minutes long - just enough for one last Liverpool cross that found Suarez for a heartbreaking close-range header past Cech.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand; Ramires, Mikel; Hazard (Benayoun 78), Mata (Lampard 90), Oscar (Moses 83); Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Terry, Ba.
Scorers Oscar 25, Hazard 57 pen.
Booked Torres 37, Azpilicueta 52, Cech 90+7
Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Gerrard (c), Lucas; Downing (Shelvey 79), Henderson, Coutinho (Sturridge h/t); Suárez.
Unused subs: Jones, Coates, Skrtel, Coady, Assaidi.
Scorers Sturridge 51, Suarez 90+6.
Booked Henderson 28, Lucas 53, Suarez 55, Carragher 63, Shelvey 81.
Referee Kevin Friend.