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Barclays Premier League

Anfield (ATT 40,721) 8th May 2012 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: K Friend

Liverpool Liverpool vs Chelsea Chelsea

Liverpool 4

M Essien (og 19)
J Henderson (25)
D Agger (28)
J Shelvey (61)

ft

Chelsea 1

Ramires (50)

Four-star Reds batter Blues

Chelsea suffering from Wembley hangover at Anfield

Last Updated: 08/05/12 10:20pm

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Liverpool gained a small measure of revenge for their FA Cup final defeat as Chelsea's hopes of finishing in the top four evaporated amid a Wembley hangover at Anfield.

Man of the match: Andy Carroll's strong end to the season continued with a powerful display. Goal of the match: Jonjo Shelvey showed great composure and class to take advantage of Ross Turnbull's mistake. Moment of the match: John Terry's slip to set Jordan Henderson up for his goal summed up a miserable night for the Chelsea skipper. Save of the match: Pepe Reina reacted quickly to keep out Romelu Lukaku's header. Miss of the match: Stewart Downing failed to take his chance to bag his first Premier League goal of the season as he missed from the penalty spot. Talking point: Does this victory provide signs of a promising future for Liverpool or paper over the cracks?

The Reds, beaten 2-1 by the Stamford Bridge side in Saturday's showpiece, ripped into the much-changed visitors from the off, with Blues captain John Terry having an evening to forget.

Terry was nutmegged by Luis Suarez en route to the Liverpool forward's cut-back being diverted into his own net by the unfortunate Michael Essien in the 19th minute, although the Uruguay international could come under the spotlight for tangling with Branislav Ivanovic later in the game.

England international Terry then slipped over six minutes later, allowing Jordan Henderson to burst clear onto Maxi's through-ball and calmly finish into the bottom corner beyond Ross Turnbull. And he was culpable again soon after as Jonjo Shelvey's deep corner was headed back into the six-yard box by Andy Carroll for Daniel Agger to nod home.

Ivanovic had planted a free header against the post with the score at 0-0 while Fernando Torres, whose every touch was jeered on his return to Anfield, lashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar from an acute angle in an action-packed opening period.

Stewart Downing, who had already rattled the bar with one long-range effort, then drilled a penalty against the base of the post on the stroke of half-time after Ivanovic's cynical elbow on Carroll, the fifth time the Reds have missed from the spot in the Premier League this season.

Ramires pulled one back for the Blues five minutes into the second period when he diverted Florent Malouda's free-kick beyond Pepe Reina at the near post, but Turnbull's hashed clearance allowed Jonjo Shelvey to drill into an empty net from long range just after the hour mark.

Roberto Di Matteo's men must now defeat Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final on 19th May if they are to secure a return to European football's top table for a 10th successive season.

The accusation levelled at Dalglish's side on Saturday was that they did not turn up until it was too late.

Nutmeg

That was far from the case in front of their own fans as they were 3-0 up inside half-an-hour and should have been even further ahead by the interval.

Suarez's nutmeg on Terry served as an early warning, the Uruguay international dragging a shot wide, while Carroll's decision to opt for placement rather than power saw his shot drop over the crossbar.

The woodwork has been Liverpool's downfall this season but they enjoyed a let-off themselves in the 17th minute when Ivanovic planted a free header against the post at a corner.

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 Essien.

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

But a familiar foe returned again as Downing's 30-yard dipping volley struck the crossbar before the England winger drilled a penalty at the post late in the half after Ivanovic had been punished for knocking over Carroll.

Spot-kicks have also been an issue for the Reds with that the fifth out of six in the league which has gone begging this season, with others also missed in their runs to two cup finals.

Chelsea briefly got themselves back in the game five minutes after half-time when Malouda's inswinging free-kick was turned in by Ramires five minutes after the break.

Pressure

But the hosts did not back down and, if anything upped the pressure, which led to their fourth.

An out-of-position Turnbull mis-kicked straight into the path of Shelvey 30 yards out and he drilled a shot into an empty net.

Dalglish was criticised for leaving Carroll out of the starting line-up for the cup final despite the 23-year-old noticeably improving over the last six weeks in particular.

The club's record signing has had to work hard to not only impress his manager but fans and he must have had a smile on his face after receiving a standing ovation simply for chasing the ball deep into the corner to ensure Chelsea received only a throw in.

It is not what £35million strikers are paid to do but it was greatly appreciated by the majority of the 40,721 at Anfield.

So was the save by Reina, who by his own admission has had a poor season and was at fault for Chelsea's opening goal at Wembley, when he brilliantly denied substitute Romelu Lukaku's header from close range.

Liverpool's onslaught continued late on with Henderson, Suarez and Agger all putting efforts wide but the job had been done in the first half.

Di Matteo will now focus on the Champions League final. Dalglish, still to lose a league match against Chelsea in 12 meetings as manager, will already be looking at summer strengthening to catch up with their Blue rivals.

LiverpoolTeam StatisticsChelsea
4Goals1
31st Half Goals0
6Shots on Target2
11Shots off Target5
6Blocked Shots4
7Corners4
17Fouls14
3Offsides0
2Yellow Cards4
0Red Cards0
83.2Passing Success80.7
21Tackles20
66.7Tackles Success60
53.2Possession46.8
51.4Territorial Advantage48.6
459Total Passes393
19Total Crosses15
131Lost Balls139
57Recoveries41
59.41st Half Poss.40.6
47.92nd Half Poss.52.1

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 6 16
2 Southampton 6 13
3 Manchester City 6 11
4 Arsenal 6 10
5 Swansea City 6 10
6 Aston Villa 6 10
7 Manchester United 6 8
8 Tottenham Hotspur 6 8
9 Crystal Palace 6 8
10 West Bromwich Albion 6 8
11 Stoke City 6 8
12 Leicester City 6 8
13 West Ham United 6 7
14 Liverpool 6 7
15 Everton 6 6
16 Hull City 6 6
17 Sunderland 6 5
18 Queens Park Rangers 6 4
19 Newcastle United 6 3
20 Burnley 6 3

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