Roberto di Matteo’s decision to field a weakened team blew up in his face. With regulars Terry and Ivanovic looking out of sorts, Liverpool ran riot over the visitors.
Even though defensive errors gifted LFC its goals, the Reds were more committed and better in nearly every aspect of the game. Carroll and Suarez turned in top performances, while Shelvey and Henderson were impressive as well.
Liverpool’s home slate ends on a high note. But the 2011-12 Anfield campaign was unforgettable for the wrong reasons. LFC dropped 30 points at home, making for its worst home record since 1948-49. Its 24 goals in 19 league games is the worst goal scoring record since 1903.
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90th minute, 4-1 Liverpool: As this game winds down, LFC continues to push forward in search of the fifth goal.
Suarez and Kuyt combined at the top of the area, but the Uruguayan scuffed his shot wide.
83rd minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Kuyt and Sterling are coming into the game.
Maxi is coming off. He receives a warm ovation in what is likely his final game at Anfield.
Sterling replaces Downing.
80th minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Ramires has been booked for a challenge on Agger.
Replays showed he won the ball, but the referee must have thought it was some sort of retaliation. Either that or he simply got it wrong.
77th minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Suarez looked like he slapped Ivanovic in the face, but the Chelsea defender was acutally hit in the shoulder before taking a dramatic fall.
73rd minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Lukaku somehow fails to score from close range.
He was unmarked five yards away from goal and headed directly at Reina.
The LFC goalkeeper palmed it away, but it was probably easier for Lukaku to score than it was to miss.
The young striker needs games and he’ll likely spend a much-needed season on loan next term.
72nd minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Agger is booked for a rough challenge on Ramires.
70th minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Liverpool is having so much fun out there, it’s easy to forget Torres is still out there.
He’s seen very little of the ball, but he finally had a touch in the second half which was met with a round of boos.
65th minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Henderson is booked for a sliding tackle on Romeu. Henderson caught his oppenent with a stud, but Romeu made the most of it as well.
61st minute, 4-1 Liverpool: Turbull makes a loose pass which falls to Shelvey, and the LFC midfielder drills it into the back of the net from 25 yards out.
It was a great strike on the half-volley. Turnbull was lost in the area. Two LFC players pressed him into making the error.
60th minute, 3-1 Liverpool: Chelsea players’ body language suggest they have given up on this one.
Liverpool is passing the ball around with ease, and Chelsea players aren’t chasing or applying pressure.
56th minute, 3-1 Liverpool: Essien shoots comedically wide. It’s a shame to consider how far he has fallen since suffering those two serious knee injuries.
He was once one of the most dynamic midfielders in the world. Now he is a shell of his former (on-field) self.
54th minute, 3-1 Liverpool: Skrtel gets forward and draws a save from Turnbull.
The Reds have no interest in letting Chelsea back into this game. They are pressing forward in search of that fourth goal.
50th minute, 3-1 Liverpool: Ramires accidentally scores for Chelsea.
Malouda sent a free kick into the area, and it seemed like it hit Ramires, who was making a run toward the near post.
It bundled in past Reina.
49th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Chelsea’s defenders are still struggling. Carroll got on the end of Downing’s cross and headed across the face of goal.
Essien intervened in the end, but the danger is still there.
Halftime, 3-0 Liverpool: The Reds, determined to send their fans home with a smile, have stormed to a three-goal advantage.
Chelsea’s sloppy play, combined with Liverpool’s brimming confidence has produced a scintillating first 45 minutes.
Suarez, Agger and Henderson have all benefited from Terry’s many errors and punished Chelsea.
The Anfield crowd has given the Reds a standing ovation as they head to the locker room. Their work is not complete, but they are well on their way.
45th minute (plus three), 3-0 Liverpool: Downing misses the penalty. He shot low to Turnbull’s right, but it hit the post.
45th minute (plus two), 3-0 Liverpool: Ivanovic has given away a penalty.
Henderson flighted a cross to the back post, and the Chelsea defender elbowed Carroll in the chest.
Carroll went down clutching his face, and the referee bought the act.
44th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Essien has been booked for a lunging, two-footed tackle on Carroll … from behind.
It could have been punished with a straight red card and there would have been few complaints.
42nd minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Downing hits the bar — that’s 32 on the season — with a half-volley shot from distance.
Suarez headed it back to him to create the chance.
37th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: The game is wide open, and Chelsea threatens the LFC goal.
Ramires, Torres, Sturridge and Malouda broke forward. Only Carragher and Skrtel were back for the Reds.
But Chelsea passed it around near the top of the goal, and the Reds were able to recover their defensive positions and thwart the attack.
35th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Torres drives a shot past Reina, but it rattles off the crossbar.
Once a Red, always a Red, right?
34th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Carroll draws a good save from Turnbull.
Terry made another error on the play. He attempted to head it up field, but it backwards, allowing Carroll to recover and take it into the area.
He cut it from his right foot to his left and shot.
32nd minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Suarez finds Maxi with a deft pass inside of the area.
But the Argentine didn’t have an angle from which he could beat the on-rushing Turnbull.
29th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Chelsea has been rattled since the second goal, and Agger makes the Blues pay with a third goal.
Shelvey flighted a corner into the area, and Carroll headed it from the far post to Agger, who was standing in the six yard box.
The big Dane headed past Turnbull, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead.
Terry lost Carroll on the goal. It’s a nightmare half for the Chelsea captain.
25th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Chelsea gifts the Reds another goal, and Terry is at fault again.
It came on the counter-attack. Maxi passed into the center where Henderson was running forward.
Terry slipped trying to reach the ball, giving the young LFC midfielder a free chance at goal.
Henderson made no mistake, and cooly took his chance. It is just his second goal of the season.
21st minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Now Carroll joins the party.
He nutmegged Terry near the center circle, and the Chelsea defender brought him down. The referee gave the Chelsea captain a yellow card.
18th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Suarez creates a goal out of nothing, but Essien scored it for the Reds.
Suarez dribbled past two defenders on the right touch-line. Terry tried to slow him down, but the LFC forward nutmegged him again.
Suarez then carried it along the byline into the area. He attempted to cut a pass across the goalmouth, but it hit Essien who tripped it into the goal.
17th minute, 0-0: Ivanovic hits the crossbar with a driven header.
Malouda delivered a corner kick, and the Chelsea defender was somehow left unmarked just five yards away from goal.
16th minute, 0-0: Carroll nearly catches Turnbull off his line, but his attempt at a chip sails high.
Suarez made a great play by receiving a long pass in between two defenders and finding his partner, who was standing a few yards behind him.
15th minute, 0-0: Ferreira is cautioned for a trip on Suarez. It was a professional foul, and rightly punished.
12th minute, 0-0: Agger’s presence at left back makes things difficult for Ramires, Chelsea’s “Blue Kenyan,” to make those bombing runs down the right.
The big Dane’s athletic ability and physical style could neutralize a player that has arguably been Chelsea’s best this season.
Seventh minute, 0-0: Suarez brings the game to its first high point by nutmegging Terry and shooting wide.
He breezed past the former England captain, but his shot lacked accuracy.
Five minute, 0-0: After five minutes, Torres has taken a single touch, and he was loudly booed.
It’s been a nervey start to the game, as both teams have struggled to play with any fluidity.
Second minute, 0-0: Torres is out there, but he has yet to touch the ball.
Liverpool has looked to start quickly and take a direct approach in the attack.
Pregame: The Reds have a new-look team from Saturday, with Carragher moving into the center of defense Agger sliding over to left back.
Henderson will shield the back four. Shelvey and Maxi return to the starting 11, as does Carroll who will partner Suarez.
Chelsea is resting a number of key players. Cech, who preserved Chelsea’s lead with that save in the FA Cup final, will miss the game.
Romeu and Essien come into the midfield. They haven’t seen much action lately. Torres and Sturridge will start up top.
2:30 p.m. ET: Here are the lineups
Pepe Reina (25), goalkeeper
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Jamie Carragher (23), center back
Daniel Agger (5), left back
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Jonjo Shelvey (33), midfielder
Stewart Downing (19), midfielder
Maxi (11), forward
Luis Suarez (7), forward
Andy Carroll (9), striker
Alexander Doni (32), goalkeeper
Sebastian Coates (16), defender
Martin Kelly (34), defender
Jay Spearing (20), midfielder
Raheem Sterling (31), midfielder
Craig Bellamy (39), forward
Dirk Kuyt (18), forward
Ross Turnbull (22), goalkeeper
Paulo Ferreira (19), right back
Branislav Ivanovic (2), center back
John Terry (26), center back
Ryan Bertrand (34), left back
Oriol Romeu (6), midfielder
Ramires (7), midfielder
Michael Essien (5), midfielder
Florent Malouda (15), midfielder
Fernando Torres (9), striker
Daniel Sturridge (23), striker
Henrique Hilario (40), goalkeeper
Ashley Cole (3), defender
Sam Hutchinson (41), defender
Frank Lampard (8), midfielder
Juan Mata (10), forward
Salomon Kalou (21), forward
Romelu Lukaku (18), striker
12 a.m. ET: Liverpool FC still feels feeling the sting of Saturday’s loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup final. But the Reds have a chance to exact some revenge on Tuesday afternoon when the two teams face off at Anfield.
The Premier League game will be Liverpool’s last home game of the 2011-12 season. But it is teeming with subplots, tension and contradictions.
Let’s start with the biggest of them all, which is the return of Fernando Torres. The Chelsea striker controversially left LFC in a record £50 million ($80 million) transfer in January 2011, and he finally faces his former fans at the stadium he called “home” for three and a half years. Anfield often gives its former idols a warm welcome when they return, but this one just might be different.
The Reds’ home struggles have seen them win just five league games at Anfield this season (including just one in 2012). It is their worst home win total since 1949, and fans are demanding an immediate change in fortunes.
Chelsea has had difficulty on the road in recent months, having won once in its previous eight trips away from Stamford Bridge. Roberto di Matteo’s team needs a win to stay in the race for a top-four finish. Anything else could see the Blues banished to the Europa League.
With both teams having just two days’ rest since Saturday, both managers will likely tinker with their lineups. But fans should expect strong teams on both sides, as this seems to intensify with each meeting.
Join us right here for our live coverage of LFC-Chelsea. We’ll have all the action starting at 2:15 p.m.