5 controversial moments that defined Liverpool vs Chelsea rivalry over the years

Liverpool host Chelsea at Anfield in a match that has huge ramifications on the Premier League title race and the race for the Top 4. Although the two clubs are not traditional rivals, a few incidents in matches between the clubs over the years have led to a bitter rivalry.

#5. Mourinho shushes Liverpool fans (2005)

The 2004/05 season was the first season in charge for Rafa Benitez at Liverpool and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. At the end of the season, Benitez’s Liverpool lifted the Champions League trophy and Mourinho’s Chelsea won the Premier League title.

During the season, the two teams played each other five times and the first major incident happened in the final of the League Cup. The Reds took the lead in the final in the very first minute and were in it till the 79th minute when Steven Gerrard put the ball in the back of his own net. 

Mourinho celebrated the goal by making a shushing gesture towards the Liverpool fans and was sent off for celebrating that way. Although he was sent to the stands, his side won the match in extra time.

In his post-match press conference, Mourinho claimed that the gesture was not for the Liverpool fans but for the press. However, that moment offset Liverpool fans’ hate towards the Portuguese manager which grew over the years.

#4. Luis Garcia’s ghost goal (2005)

Chelsea did the double of Liverpool in the league in 2004/05 and also beat them in the League Cup final. However, Liverpool still had a chance to get their revenge when the two teams faced each other in the semifinal of the Champions League.

The first leg was at Stamford Bridge and it ended 0-0. In the second leg at Anfield, in only the fourth minute of the game, Luis Garcia put the home side ahead. However, the Chelsea players protested claiming that William Gallas had cleared the ball off the line. 

Since there was no goalline technology at that time, the referee awarded the goal and that goal was the only one of the tie. Liverpool progressed to the final and went on to lift the trophy after a famous final against Milan.

Mourinho had trouble getting over the goal and has brought it up several times. In 2015, when he was managing Chelsea, in an interview with BT Sports, he was still seething about the goal.

“I lost a semi-final with a goal that was not a goal. Today it would not be a goal. Today with goal-line technology it would be different.”

#3. The Fernando Torres transfer (2011)

Liverpool fans had to bear the with the departures of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho in the last decade but the one that hurt them the most was the departure of Fernando Torres. He was a huge fan favourite at Liverpool and he scored 81 goals in only 142 games.

Following the departure of Rafa Benitez, Liverpool was in a period of turmoil as the owners had put the club in huge debt and they were close to the drop zone under Roy Hodgson.

Torres was not ready to waste the best years of his club career playing for a mediocre Liverpool team and handed in a transfer request in January 2011 even though the Fenway Sports Group had taken over the club and appointed Kenny Dalglish as the manager.

On transfer deadline day, Torres joined rivals Chelsea for a then British record £50m and his first game for the Blues was against Liverpool at the Bridge. Torres’ presence seemed to have spurred the Liverpool players on and they went on beat Chelsea with Torres enduring a forgettable debut.

His debut set the tone for the rest of his Chelsea career as he only scored once in his debut season for the team and just 45 times in 172 games overall without scoring more than eight goals in a single Premier League season.

#2. Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic (2013)

In April 2013, Rafa Benitez returned to Anfield as the manager of Chelsea but his limelight was stolen by Luis Suarez who had his name written all over the match report. Suarez provided a brilliant assist for Daniel Sturridge’s goal to level the game 1-1 but a few minutes later, his handball gave Chelsea a penalty which Eden Hazard converted.

The Uruguayan also scored an equalising goal in the seventh minute of added time at the end of the second half but the headlines were dominated by what he did a few minutes after Chelsea took the lead for the second time. Suarez bit Branislav Ivanovic and the incident was not spotted by the referees.

Suarez was punished retrospectively and charged with violent conduct for which he was given a ten-match ban.

#1. The Steven Gerrard slip and Mourinho celebration (2014)

The Steven Gerrard slip needs no introduction as it is one of the most infamous and shocking moments in Premier League history. After 35 Premier League games of the 2013/14 season, Liverpool were in the driving seat and needed only seven points from the remaining three games to be confirmed as Champions.

Chelsea had an outside chance of winning the league title if they beat Liverpool but Mourinho was more concerned about his side’s Champions League semifinal second-leg against Atletico Madrid.

Therefore, he rested his regular starters and gave starts to the likes of Mark Schwarzer, Tomas Kalas, Demba Ba and Mohamed Salah. He even refused to name some of his important players on the bench. 

Mourinho set up his side to frustrate the home side by defending deep and wasting time and then, in the third minute of added time at the end of the first half, disaster struck. Steven Gerrard received a pass from Mamadou Sakho and turned quickly to pass the ball but the Liverpool captain lost his footing and slipped. 

Demba Ba was closing in on the Liverpool skipper and when Gerrard slipped, Ba gathered the ball, went through on goal and slotted the ball through Mignolet’s legs.

Liverpool strived to find a goal for the rest of the game but in their desperation, they committed more players forward which helped Chelsea score an easy second late in the game. When Chelsea scored their second, Mourinho ran down the touchline and celebrated wildly to add salt into the wounds of the home team and their fans.

Interestingly, in that game, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah -three of Liverpool’s best forwards in the Premier League era were all on the pitch.