Skip to main content

Top 10 Liverpool vs Chelsea games: Shankly spirit, Jose's finger and Stevie's slip

Liverpool 7-4 Chelsea, Sep 1946

When Liverpool raced into a 6-0 lead in less than an hour, it was with a team featuring emerging talent: both Bob Paisley and Billy Liddell made their debuts in this fixture.

Meanwhile, the game served early notice of Liverpool's intentions during that campaign: they won the old First Division, though they were embarrassed in the FA Cup semi-final by Second Division Burnley.

In the wake of their title win, much was made of a pre-season trip to America, which served the purpose of fattening up a Liverpool team physically diminished by the hardships and rationing of post-Second World War Britain. Chairman Bill McConnell claimed that if they could go to the States, load up on steaks, sodas and ice creams, they'd win the title. He wasn't wrong. Well played, fatties.

Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea, Mar 1965



A match in which arch motivator Bill Shankly upped his psychological game. At the time, Chelsea, led by manager Tommy Docherty, were tipped to win an impressive treble with a robust team including the likes of Ron Harris and Peter Bonetti. Liverpool were expected to fall to one side in this FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park.

But Shanks had a trump card up his sleeve. Having discovered a programme seemingly constructed for Chelsea's FA Cup final in somewhat over-confident fashion, he stuck the pages to his team's dressing room wall and told the players to "stuff those wee cocky southern buggers". That they did, winning 2-0 and later claiming the final. And Chelsea? Well, their treble dream was dashed and they would only win the League Cup. That'll learn 'em.

British Pathe highlights

Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool, May 1986

A couple of months before securing the First Division title at Stamford Bridge, the odds were heavily stacked against Liverpool. Player-manager Kenny Dalglish's team were in second place and 13 points behind arch rivals Everton. They also knew their final-day fixture at Chelsea was historically tricky. At the start of the campaign, dressing room 'bantz' even covered the thorny issue of having to win their last game in west London.

But they did, and, typically, Dalglish decided to lead by example, scoring the decisive goal in the 23rd minute and helping snatch the title from West Ham and Everton. Liverpool later went on to win a historic double.

"When Everton beat us at Anfield we were 13 points behind them," said Alan Hansen, then Liverpool skipper. "We came up with this incredible run and won something like 12 games out of the last 13. We went to Chelsea and our confidence was high. It was typical Dalglish, taking the ball on his chest and the next thing it's in the back of the net. To win the championship in his first season as player-manager, especially after being so many points behind at one stage, was terrific."

Chelsea 4-2 Liverpool, Jan 1997

In the gaudy era of the Spice Boys, a Liverpool team starring Jamie Redknapp, John Barnes, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman started this FA Cup third round clash with plenty of zigazigahhh, scoring two early goals. By the final whistle they were left feeling like wannabes, as Mark Hughes, Gianfranca Zola and Gianluca Vialli turned the tie on its head.

The game marked a major shift in belief, too. Liverpool fell away in the title race, finishing fourth. Meanwhile, Chelsea went on to win the FA Cup, their first major trophy in 26 years. Which seems funny now, given they seem to win pots for fun.

Liverpool 2-3 Chelsea, Feb 2005

While dismissed by some managers as being a bit Mickey Mouse, the League Cup, in all its sponsored guises, has often been credited by Jose Mourinho as the trigger for his team's subsequent successes.

As crazy as it sounds now, Chelsea, pumped with opulent talents and public ambition, were apparently missing that final sprinkling of unswerving self belief often required to win a league title. Their Carling Cup glory gave them the final, all-conquering ego shot.

Of course, they were helped on their way by circumstances mired in what football commentators would call 'irony' (but everyone else would consider bad luck). Steven Gerrard, a player courted by Chelsea during Euro 2004, scored an own goal to cancel out John Arne Riise's record-breaking opener after 45 seconds.

Chelsea eventually muscled their way to victory, but only after a couple of goals scored in nail-shredding extra-time. Mourinho had added extra spice to the match by shushing the Liverpool fans.

Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea, May 2005

A goal that Jose Mourinho will not accept (and one that its scorer Luis Garcia "doubted" at the time) settled this Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield under the most controversial circumstances.

With the match poised at 0-0, the Spaniard pinged a strike past Petr Cech, only to watch as centre-back William Gallas hoofed it away. But inexplicably, referee Lubos Michel, believing the ball had crossed the line, pointed to the centre circle. His blunder was enough to settle the tie.

Even today, The Special One talks bitterly of this decisive moment: "We lost with a goal that was not a goal, but that is football," he said. Garcia has fonder memories, however.

"I started doubting for a moment because for two seconds none of my team-mates were close," he said. "I started thinking: 'Oh my goodness, maybe it wasn't.' But I turned round and saw the referee and the linesman running back into position and just started screaming."

Liverpool 1-4 Chelsea, Oct 2005

All the talk before this fixture was that Liverpool, after their Rentaghost-goal of the previous season, had laid claim to a strange mental stranglehold over Jose Mourinho's men. But this chatter served only to rattle cages at Chelsea.

The west Londoners flew out of the traps, smashing their rivals for four in Liverpool's worst Anfield defeat since Manchester United tonked them by the same scoreline in 1969. Liverpool were swept aside, not only by the steamroller-like marauding of Michael Essien, but by standout performer Didier Drogba.

The striker had experienced a mixed opening season in his Chelsea career – a potpourri of goals and injuries; false starts and flashes of promise. His performance here served notice of the rampage to come.

Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool, Apr 2009

It was the match that had seemingly been decided at Anfield, Chelsea sticking it to their European rivals in a 3-1 first-leg win in the Champions League quarter-finals. A home shutout seemed inevitable, even with John Terry suspended; Liverpool's charge was stilted given Steven Gerrard's omission from the squad.

Instead, what followed was a topsy-turvy, no-holds-barred shootout that had Blues fans reaching for the valium. With little to lose and the underdog mantle foisted upon them, Liverpool went for it, scoring two in the first half and wiping out Chelsea's away goal advantage.

But as the nerves jangled around Stamford Bridge, manager Gus Hiddink introduced striker Nicolas Anelka and watched as his side scored three goals... and then lose their stranglehold when first Lucas Leiva equalised and then Dirk Kuyt scored with eight minutes remaining.

Their blushes were spared when all-round-lucky-charm Frank Lampard popped up with an equaliser to push Chelsea through 7-5 on aggregate. Be still my beating heart!

Liverpool 2-2 Chelsea, Apr 2013

Forget the close nature of the scoreline here. This draw will be long remembered for the surreal moment in the 66th minute when Luis Suarez – Liverpool's Uruguayan goal machine and pantomime villain – sunk his Alvin Chipmunk-sized gnashers into the upper arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Extra fuel was heaped on the fire when Suarez then popped up to score the equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage-time.

The incident went unnoticed by officials at the time, and the FA's subsequent ban of 10 games did little to deter Suarez from further offences. He repeated the trick at the 2014 World Cup against Italy to considerably larger uproar.

Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea, Apr 2014

A classic tale of master-versus-apprentice with a subplot of "anti-football", negativity and a tragic balls-up by one of Liverpool's great servants. When Steven Gerrard (again; why always him?), allowed a routine pass to slide under his boot and into the path of Chelsea striker Demba Ba – who scored, for once, clinically – The Kop were silenced. Their title charge was in tatters. A returning Jose Mourinho had blown the league wide open.

For 90 minutes, Chelsea defended relentlessly; they time-wasted as if their lives depended on it. The phrase used by Mourinho after a defensive display by Tottenham at Stamford Bridge – that of "parking the bus" in front of his goal – was used as an effective MO.

Chelsea parked a fleet at Anfield and nicked the game 2-0, leaving then Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, a former coach under the Portuguese, to snipe and moan in his post-match interviews.

"Jose is happy to work that way and play that way, and he will probably shove his CV and say it works, but it's not my way of working," he said. "I like to take the initiative in games and let players express themselves. We tried everything we could but our game is based on being offensively creative as opposed to stopping."

New features you'd love on

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1