Chelsea vs. Liverpool  2 - 1

Article

Carroll thought he had equalised

6 May 2012 07:03

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll says he initially thought he had equalised in the 2-1 FA Cup final loss to Chelsea.

The 35 million pounds striker connected with a thumping header at the far post with just eight minutes remaining, only to see the ball dragged out of the goal by Petr Cech.

However, Carroll and his team-mates' celebrations were cut short as the referee and his assistant quickly deemed that the ball had not crossed the line, with replays being inconclusive as to whether the goal should have stood.

And Carroll believes that the incident just proved it was not his team's day, calling Liverpool 'unlucky'.

"I thought it was over the line. I thought it hit the underside of the bar which means it did, really, but I haven't seen it back. I thought it was unlucky. We had a few chances but couldn't put them away but obviously it's not to be," the striker told ITV.

"I don’t really know (about goal-line technology) to be honest. All I know is we tried hard."

Meanwhile, Cech is convinced that the match officials made the right decision on Carroll's header.

"I don't think it was over the line - not at all. If the ball was over the whole of the line then I couldn't have put it outside of the post. I got my arms there and tried to push it out, so I'm sure it wasn’t over," Cech said.

"I haven't seen the replay (but) I'm 100 percent persuaded it was not in and knew it from the first moment so I’m sure the officials got it right."

The victory was Cech's fourth FA Cup, a record-equalling claim for a goalkeeper, but he suggested it is still just as sweet as the first, adding that he is looking for the team to also bag the Champions League when they meet Bayern Munich in the May 19 final.

"What we have achieved is fantastic and we still have one more final to go and hopefully we can make it two trophies," he said.

"I have won the Cup for the fourth time but it doesn't matter how many times you do it, this cup is still special and the atmosphere is fantastic."

Article

FA Cup: Chelsea 2 Liverpool 1

6 May 2012 03:32

Didier Drogba scored a record-breaking fourth FA Cup final goal to seal a 2-1 victory for Chelsea over Liverpool on Saturday.

A quality-starved first half was punctured only after 11 minutes when Ramires capitalised on a series of Liverpool errors to burst down the right and slot into the net.

Drogba's historic finish soon after half-time looked to have Chelsea comfortable but Andy Carroll came off the bench for Liverpool to slam home an emphatic finish shortly past the hour.

He thought he had pulled off an astonishing comeback in the 82nd minute when he powered a header at the far post, but somehow Petr Cech was able to claw it back before crossing the whole of the line, those few millimetres securing the Blues' triumph as they held off a furious final assault.

Kenny Dalglish opted to leave Carroll on the bench, Luis Suarez playing alone up front with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Craig Bellamy forward in support, while there was no place for stalwart defender Jamie Carragher.

Former Reds star Fernando Torres was named as a substitute for Chelsea, with Drogba chosen to lead the line, while Branislav Ivanovic partnered John Terry at the back and veteran Frank Lampard started.

After both sides spent the first 10 minutes acclimatising, an array of Liverpool errors allowed Chelsea through. Jay Spearing lost the ball in the centre, allowing Juan Mata into possession, who fed Ramires on the right.

The Brazilian powered easily outside Jose Enrique before finishing calmly past Pepe Reina, who had committed to his dive far too early.

The Reds sought a quick response, some flowing football resulting in the ball falling for Bellamy just inside the Chelsea box. The Welshman hammered a fearsome snapshot but Ivanovic was on hand with a crucial block.

Both sides looked to attack as the halfway point of the first period passed, Salomon Kalou embarking on a mazy, unchallenged run into the Liverpool area before being caught out by Daniel Agger at the last minute.

The Dane himself then made his own powerful drive forward, but as he pushed on into the box, Enrique's pass was hit slightly too hard and the spark was snuffed out.

There was little more joy for either side, Suarez only able to stretch enough to tamely make headed contact with an inviting cross from Jordan Henderson five minutes before the break.

Chelsea opened the second period with a testing corner from Lampard, Glen Johnson displaying plenty of muscle to hold off Terry, though the Blues captain still got a desperate touch that flopped onto the top of the net.

They were on target five minutes later, though. Lampard had space to pick his pass with the Liverpool back line ahead of him, electing not to shoot but to play it in for Drogba on the edge of the area. The Ivorian took a touch and aimed through the legs of Martin Skrtel to roll his record fourth FA Cup final goal into the corner.

Dalglish threw caution to the wind by replacing the struggling Spearing with Carroll and the target man made an immediate difference.

Found by Enrique in the box, Carroll juggled and stepped over and seemed to have missed his moment to strike but instead whipped around the beaten Terry and slammed home left-footed to put Liverpool back in it.

The breakthrough woke the Reds up and they streamed forward, the substitute striker at the heart of it. His header down teed up Henderson to shoot wide from 20 yards as the crowd came alive.

Gerrard tried his luck next, attempting to meet a knock-down from over 30 yards out with a trademark howitzer, but he miscontrolled and fired wildly over the top.

Carroll then came back into play as he met Enrique's left-sided cross with a header not far off-target.

Liverpool thought the 35-million-pound man had struck again in the 82nd minute, arriving superbly to blast a thumping header at the far post. Reds players and fans alike celebrated a goal but the referee's assistant made a superb call to point out that Cech had in fact jumped quickly enough with incredible reflex to keep the whole of the ball from crossing the whole of the line.

Dalglish's men hammered away in the final minutes with Chelsea clinging on desperately - although Skrtel had to cover for an exposed Reina at the death - but the final breakthrough just would not come and the Blues celebrated their fourth FA Cup triumph in six years.

Article

Cup triumphs Terry´s purpose

5 May 2012 21:39

Chelsea captain John Terry said his side's FA Cup final triumph is 'what we live for' after beating Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday.

Ramires and Didier Drogba scored in either half before the Blues weathered an Andy Carroll-inspired fightback and the skipper felt that the win helped prove their critics wrong.

"(It's) fantastic. This is what we live for, what we play football for," Terry told ITV after the game.

"At times people have slated us a little bit, (saying) 'we're too old, we're past it, we're not together as a team,' but I said yesterday: When the chips are down, we come together, we unite when our backs are against the wall, so we did that and we've done that superbly (over) the last 16 or 17 games."

Asked if the cup win boosts interim manager Roberto Di Matteo's chances of securing the job full-time, the centre-back was cautiously positive.

"We've still got one more massive trophy and that's the Champions League (final on May 19)," he stressed.

"That's what our targets have been since the day the owner came in. After that it's down to the board to make their decision.

"We've done Robbie a world of good today, he's been fantastic. We put in a great performance today and it can do him no harm."

Liverpool felt that they might have had an equaliser when Carroll's header was ruled to have been saved by Petr Cech just before the ball crossed the whole of the goal line late on, but Terry insisted that it had not gone in.

"No. I spoke honestly in the semi-final (about Juan Mata's 'ghost goal') - that one wasn't over,” he claimed to ESPN.

"When he rose you think 'goal' but a great stop from Petr and a great clearance off the line from Iva (Branislav Ivanovic) as well.

"It was tough (in the second half) but we dug in - that's what we're all about, digging in deep, Didier chasing back the last minute, making blocks. Everyone was fantastic."

Article

Drogba happy in London

5 May 2012 09:59

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has underlined his commitment to club, calling his time in west London the happiest of his life.

The Ivorian forward, who joined the Blues in 2004, is out of contract at the end of the season and has been widely linked with a move away.

However, he recently scored in the first leg of the Stamford Bridge outfit's famous Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona and has dropped the biggest hint yet that he wishes to stay.

"I love this club," he told BBC One's 'The Graham Norton Show'.

"Those last eight years have been the best in my career and in my entire life and I'm happy in London."

Former Blues forward Nicolas Anelka, now player-manager at Shanghai Shenhua, has recently expressed his desire to bring the 34-year-old to China.

Chelsea face Liverpool on Saturday in the FA Cup final before a Champions League final meeting with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on May 19.

Article

Terry salutes Di Matteo impact

5 May 2012 00:09

Chelsea captain John Terry has praised manager Roberto Di Matteo and hailed his passion for the club ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final.

Di Matteo's team face Liverpool at Wembley as they aim to turn around a disappointing season by picking up two trophies, with the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to follow on May 19.

Chelsea's hopes of a top-four finish were dealt a massive blow with a 2-0 loss to Newcastle on Wednesday, but Terry said Di Matteo still deserved credit for what he had achieved since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas in March.

"He cares for the club immensely, which is great, and that's certainly rubbed off on the players," Terry said on Friday.

"So he's been a revelation, really, since he took over. He shows that he cares and the passion shows in the team meetings and on the training field when things don't go well.

"He always refers back to the way he cares about this football club, the relationship he has with the fans as well.

"He's got a great rapport with the fans, a great understanding with the players. He's communicating with everyone and things have gone very well for us so he deserves a huge amount of credit for that."

Strikers Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba are both in good form, but one is likely to start on the bench in Di Matteo's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

The former Italy international said he was unsure whether changing formations would be best for his team.

"It's always a difficult decision when I have to leave players out, not just the two strikers, we have a lot of competition in midfield as well and it's a difficult decision as well," Di Matteo said.

"But I think we all have to be pleased that we have two strikers at the moment they are in good form.

"I think it's a question of what is best for the team. And if I feel that (changing formation) would be best for the team, I would do it, but it all depends on what is our best team and formation, to win the game tomorrow."

Drogba said Chelsea were focused only on the Liverpool encounter despite the upcoming Champions League final.

"We want to win the FA Cup for the club. It was a difficult season at the beginning, but now we have a good chance to win the cup and this is a trophy that we want to win," he said.

"I'm only focused on tomorrow's game. We have to win this game for the fans, for the club and it's always good to win a cup like this one, so let's see what we can do".

Star midfielder Frank Lampard said his team's rivalry against Liverpool had grown after a series of vital matches.

"We had a section of years where we played them in the Champions League a lot, in the league cups and everything," Lampard said.

"I think that kind of grew a rivalry between the players and the fans. I just think they are full-blooded, and they're committed and I'm sure the final will be the same."

Article

Henderson happy with outsider tag

4 May 2012 18:04

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has declared that his side prefer being underdogs as they prepare to face Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

An intense rivalry has built up between the two sides, as they will meet for the 31st time in just eight years on Saturday, with Liverpool looking to complete, and Chelsea to start, a double trophy haul for the season.

And while Liverpool have already recorded two victories over the Blues this term, Henderson said their incredible run to the Champions League final will mean Roberto Di Matteo's side will go into the game as the front runner.

"Chelsea are doing really well at the minute, and after beating Spurs (in the FA Cup semi-final) have gone on to beat Barcelona in the Champions League, but we know we have a job to do," Henderson told the Football Association's official website.

With the tag of favourites comes added pressure, and that is something which Henderson feels will perhaps hinder Chelsea and help his side.

"We believe in ourselves and will go to Wembley and do everything to try and win the Cup. Not being favourites might help us, and we'd possibly prefer that, too," he said.

"All of us at Liverpool know we can beat anyone on our day, so we just have to concentrate on our game and make sure we turn up on the day and perform well.

"Winning the League Cup was a big achievement for us, so then to get to the final of the FA Cup is great for the club."

Article

Blues to use FA Cup for Europe prep

4 May 2012 15:49

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard said victory in the FA Cup will stand his side in good stead to go on and win the Champions League.

Roberto Di Matteo's men face Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday before they meet Bayern Munich in the European final.

It is no secret that Blues owner Roman Abramovich wants the Champions League crown in the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet, and Lampard is certain that a win over Kenny Dalglish's men would be the perfect warm-up to the showdown on May 19.

"It would be a great boost," the 33-year-old told Sky Sports.

"We're in two finals now and you want to win one and take that confidence into the next one would be fantastic.

"We know that it's (the Champions League final) a very tough game in its own right out there, but we want to win it.

"We want to put everything into this game alone and all thoughts of (the) Champions League will have to be put on the back burner. Hopefully we can get the result and that will give a wave of confidence through the club."

Di Matteo has a selection dilemma up front ahead of Saturday's final, with Fernando Torres coming back into form after his hat-trick against QPR, but Didier Drogba has an outstanding record at Wembley – notching seven times in as many appearances in the famous ground.

"We're very fortunate to have the pair of them," Lampard said.

"Didier has been absolutely fantastic for this club and for years and years he's produced when it's mattered.

"Fernando is playing very well and is obviously a world-class player but I can't speak highly enough of what Didier has done for this place because if you look at his record of scoring in finals, semi-finals and just important games generally for us, he's been top-drawer."

Lampard also welcomed the appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager, despite the announcement meaning that his uncle, Harry Redknapp, was overlooked.

He added: "It's a very good appointment and I think he's a very experienced manager who has international experience and club football experience.

"Ideally if I put in good performances until the end of the season and am involved in the squad, he'd be the sort of manager that you'd love to work with."

Article

FA Cup preview: Liverpool v Chelsea

3 May 2012 09:00

The managers of both Chelsea and Liverpool hope they can turn around their form before Saturday's FA Cup Final after poor mid-week defeats.

Liverpool lost 1-0 to Fulham at Anfield on Tuesday, while Chelsea went down 2-0 to visitors Newcastle on Wednesday in the English Premier League.

Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish slammed the players he picked against Fulham for not taking the opportunity to push for selection in Saturday's final.

Dalglish selected a second-string team with only Andy Carroll and Dirk Kuyt having a decent chance of starting against Chelsea.

The Scot was happy with Carroll, but not with the other 13 players who got game time on Tuesday.

"Their attitude was not right and if you get a bad attitude you going to get a bad performance and that is what we got," Dalglish said.

"I tried to be fair and give everyone an opportunity - maybe I was wrong."

After Wednesday's loss to Newcastle, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo quickly switched his focus to the final of the 140-year-old competition.

Di Matteo admitted his players looked tired against Newcastle after trying to maintain a high level in three separate competitions but promised they would be ready for Saturday's final.

"We'll regroup and pick them up," Di Matteo said. "We've got a big game, a great final, on Saturday and we'll go again."

Chelsea, who also have the Champions League final to prepare for on May 19, will hope at least one of central-defensive pair David Luiz and Gary Cahill recover in time for the FA Cup Final.

Di Matteo will surely pick Didier Drogba to lead his attack as the 34-year-old striker has scored every time he has played a competitive match at Wembley and Chelsea have won all of those four games.

Liverpool are likely to rely on Luis Suarez for goals after the Uruguayan striker scored a hat-trick against Norwich on Sunday to take his season tally to 17 goals in all competitions.

Dalglish will be aiming for his third FA Cup title as a manager on Saturday (he also won it as a player in 1986), while Di Matteo could join him as one of the 16 people to have won the competition both as a player and a manager if Chelsea triumph. The former Italy international won the FA Cup in 1997 and 2000.

Despite their poor showing in the league this season, if Liverpool win on Saturday it will be the first time since 2001 they have won the FA Cup-Carling Cup double.

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