Liverpool vs Chelsea: 10 Classic Clashes Between the Premier League Rivals

Sequence 7 of 7 - Liverpool's Luis Garci
Luis Garcia’s goal against Chelsea has gone down in history | ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

As two of the Premier League’s biggest sides over the past few decades, it should come as no surprise to hear that Liverpool and Chelsea have played out more than their fair share of thrillers in the past.

Whether competing for domestic glory or stealing the show on the European stage, the two sides have captivated audiences around the world with more controversy, drama and excitement than you could possibly want.

Let’s take a look at ten of the best clashes between the two.

The first meeting on this list didn’t look like it was going to be a classic as Liverpool strolled to an early 2-0 lead in an FA Cup fourth-round tie. However, Mark Hughes soon changed that.

Brought off Chelsea’s bench at half-time, Hughes needed just five minutes to bag a goal, and that strike sparked a stunning comeback from Ruud Gullit’s side.

Gianfranco Zola’s exquisite equaliser was followed by two solid striker from Gianluca Vialli, steering Chelsea through to the next round of the competition which they would ultimately go on to win.

Patrick Berger of Liverpool tangles with Gianluca Vialli of ChelseaPatrick Berger of Liverpool tangles with Gianluca Vialli of Chelsea
Patrik Berger stole the show | Getty Images/Getty Images

Just nine months later, Liverpool managed to flip the scoreline around in a game which really had it all.

Patrik Berger opened the scoring with a delicious lob, only for Gianfranco Zola to fire back soon after. Unfortunately for the Blues, their hopes of a comeback were dashed after just 26 minutes when centre-back Bernard Lambourde was sent off after picking up a second yellow card.

Berger took advantage of the situation by bagging a hat-trick, before Robbie Fowler added Liverpool’s fourth after the hour mark.

Gus Poyet netted a late penalty, but Liverpool were already celebrating by that point.

Jesper Gronkjaer of Chelsea celebrates scoring the winning goalJesper Gronkjaer of Chelsea celebrates scoring the winning goal
Gronkjaer’s goal led Chelsea to a new era | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Initially billed as the ‘£20m match’ as Chelsea and Liverpool battled it out for the final Champions League spot at the end of the 2002/03 season, this game would go on to be far more valuable for the Blues than anyone could have predicted.

Sami Hyypiä gave Liverpool an early lead, but Chelsea were in front by the 27th minute thanks to goals from Marcel Desailly and Jesper Grønkjær. The score stayed that way, with an 89th-minute red card for Steven Gerrard the only excitement after the break, and Chelsea sealed Champions League football for only the second time ever.

After watching them secure European qualification, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the Blues just weeks later and changed Chelsea forever.

John Arne RiiseJohn Arne Riise
Riise scored the fastest goal in final history | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Cup competitions would play home to some iconic meetings between Chelsea and Liverpool in the 2000s, and the 2005 Carling Cup final was no exception.

The game got off to record-setting pace as John Arne Riise volleyed Liverpool ahead after just 45 seconds, and that goal came close to deciding it all. However, a 79th-minute own goal from Steven Gerrard sent the game to extra time, with José Mourinho forced to watch from the stands after being sent off for shushing the Liverpool fans in celebration.

A pulsating extra 30 minutes brought scrappy goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kežman, bringing the Blues their first trophy under Mourinho.

One of the most famous matches of all time, the 2004/05 Champions League semi-final tie between the two sides won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

After a goalless first leg, the second was all decided by one goal – sorry, one ‘goal’. Just three minutes in, Luis García chipped the ball towards an empty Chelsea net and had William Gallas scrambling to clear it. The Frenchman did attempt to clear it, but only after the ball was deemed to have crossed the line.

With no VAR at the time, the referee had to use his instinct and awarded Liverpool the goal – a decision which Chelsea fans still complain about to this day.

Fernando Torres, Frank LampardFernando Torres, Frank Lampard
Extra time brought most of the fun in this one | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Liverpool beat Chelsea in the 2004/05 Champions League semi-final, and Liverpool beat Chelsea in the 2006/07 Champions League semi-final, but the Blues finally got their revenge at the same stage in 2007/08.

The first leg ended 1-1 and this return fixture brought the same scoreline after 90 minutes, sending the game to extra time, and that’s where all the fun was had.

Frank Lampard scored an early penalty, stepping up to the plate just six days after the death of his mother, before Drogba fired home a third.

Ryan Babel made the score 3-2 with just four minutes to go, but Chelsea held on to book their place in the final.

Usually, a 4-4 draw doesn’t need much hyping up, but the fact that this was yet another Champions League knockout game only adds to the excitement.

Liverpool were 2-0 up at half-time thanks to goals from Fábio Aurélio (that quick free-kick) and Xabi Alonso, but the score was level 12 minutes after the break, with Alex stealing the free-kick headlines.

Lampard poked Chelsea ahead midway through the half, but the Reds were back in front six minutes later after goals from Lucas Leiva and Dirk Kuyt.

It was Lampard who netted the game’s last goal, bringing the scoreline to 4-4 and steering Chelsea through to the semi-final on aggregate.

Branislav Ivanovic, Luis SuarezBranislav Ivanovic, Luis Suarez
Suarez stole the show for all the wrong reasons | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Was this 2-2 draw the finest game you’ll ever see? Not even close. However, Luis Suárez made sure this was one to remember.

The Uruguayan infamously bit Blues defender Branislav Ivanović in an incident which was not spotted by the officials, and he went on to cause even more controversy by netting a 97th-minute equaliser.

He was later hit with a ten-game ban, before handing in an ultimately unsuccessful transfer request a few weeks later.

That 2-2 draw was defined by one incident, and this 2-0 win for Chelsea was exactly the same.

The slip.

A tumble from Gerrard, who had urged his team-mates not to let their lead at the top of the table ‘slip’ just weeks earlier, gifted Demba Ba with an opening goal, and Willian’s late strike left the Reds’ title hopes in tatters.

Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, FabinhoRoberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, Fabinho
Liverpool lifted the title after beating Chelsea 5-3 | Pool/Getty Images

Cast your mind back just a few months ago. Liverpool were already deserved Premier League champions and were playing like that early in this one, roaring to a 3-0 lead at half-time.

After the break, it was chaos.

3-1. 4-1. 4-2. 4-3. 5-3.

Liverpool were at their free-flowing best in attack and had clearly taken their foot off the gas pedal in defence, and it made for one of the most entertaining games of the season, finished off by Liverpool lifting the trophy.

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