LONDON: Chelsea can qualify for the Champions League next season only now if they beat Bayern in Munich in the C hampions League Final on Saturday week.
Their last faint hope of using a Premier League ticket vanished when they crashed 4-1 at Liverpool who thus took a measure of revenge for their FA Cup final defeat by Chelsea.
The home side, who lost 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday, netted three times in nine minutes through a Michael Essien own goal, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger to take total control before Stewart Downing missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Chelsea were poor, in particular John Terry, who was nutmegged three times in the first half, twice by the excellent Suarez. Downing had also earlier struck the crossbar while the nearest a much-changed Chelsea came to scoring was when Fernando Torres, on his first return to Anfield following his £50m move south last January, also hit the bar from a tight angle.
In the second half Ramires bundled in Florent Malouda’s cross past a hapless Pepe Reina shortly after the re-start.
The Blues were the architects of their downfall once more though as Ross Turnbull’s poor clearance was capitalised on by Jonjo Shelvey, who scored his first Premier League goal with a stunning finish.
Liverpool pressed for more, but with the game ending 4-1, the Reds moved up to eighth on 52 points, one behind their Merseyside rivals Everton in seventh. Chelsea’s defeat sees them stay in sixth.
Inteim manager Roberto Di Matteo had no regrets about his decision to make eight changes to his Chelsea side.
He said: “We’ve come so far because we’ve used all the energy and all the players we have in the squad, that’s the only way to be in the race for fourth until now and qualify for those two finals. No regrets, Liverpool is a difficult place to play and we found a very inspired Liverpool side.
“We’ve had very intense games, the last one just three days ago. To get yourself up every three days…it’s a big demand on everyone. I thought with fresh legs and new energy we could have had a better chance but Liverpool were better tonight.”
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish offered a positive appraisal of his first full season back in charge after his side picked up just a sixth home win of the league season.
He said: “We’ve got a bit of silverware back in the cupboard after six years, we’re back in Europe at the first time of asking, we were near to winning the FA Cup final. Not a bad first season.”
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