When Chelsea face Liverpool in the FA Cup final it will be a remarkable 31st meeting between the two clubs since 2004, with a Premier League clash to follow just three days later.
Hardly a season has passed in the past eight years without these teams being paired against each other in one cup competition or another – including a League Cup quarter-final earlier in the 2011/12 season – which has added to their always competitive league games.
Here, Into The Top Corner looks back at the 6 best cup clashes…
1. Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool – Carling Cup Final 2005
John Arne Riise volleyed Liverpool ahead after 45 seconds but Steven Gerrard scored a 79th-minute own goal. Blues boss Jose Mourinho was sent off for taunting Liverpool fans after the goal and he watched on television as his side went on to win the game. Drogba and Kezman scored from close range before Antonio Nunez’s header made for a tense finale. It was an amazing climax which gave Mourinho his first silverware as Chelsea manager. Yet it was controversial too, after Mourinho’s sending off, apparently for putting his finger to his lips to hush the Liverpool fans.
2. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea – Champions League Semi Final 2005, 2nd Leg
Liverpool led inside four minutes when Milan Baros beat Petr Cech to the ball and Luis Garcia tapped in, despite Chelsea claiming it did not cross the line. Liverpool’s defence did the rest as they withstood everything Chelsea’s ineffective attack could throw at them. Chelsea’s best chance came deep into injury time but Eidur Gudjohnsen thrashed a volley just wide. After drawing 0-0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool knew they needed a goal, but even they could not have envisaged doing it so early.
3. Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool, FA Cup Semi Final 2006
Liverpool ended Chelsea’s hopes of a domestic Double with victory at Old Trafford in their FA Cup semi-final. Didier Drogba missed two gilt-edged chances for Chelsea before John Arne Riise’s free-kick put the Reds ahead. Luis Garcia brilliantly half-volleyed in from 20 yards to extend Liverpool’s lead but Drogba headed in to set up an enthralling end to the game. Chelsea then put their rivals under siege and Joe Cole blazed a late chance over as Liverpool clung on for the win.
4. Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea (1-1 on agg, Liverpool win 4-1 on penalties), Champions League Semi Final 2007, 2nd Leg
Liverpool booked their place in the Champions League final with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win in the semi-final second leg at Anfield. Dirk Kuyt scored the crucial spot-kick to clinch a 4-1 win after Arjen Robben and Geremi had missed for the Blues. Daniel Agger cancelled out Chelsea’s first-leg lead in the first half with a crisp finish from Steven Gerrard’s superbly disguised left-wing free-kick. Kuyt also rattled the bar with a fine header after the break. Chelsea’s best chance saw Didier Droga denied by Pepe Reina and the big striker was also inches away from turning in Ashley Cole’s cross after the break. But Liverpool were good value for their win in a game that had plenty of excitement but lacked real quality.
5. Chelsea 3-2 Liverpool, Champions League Semi Final 2008, 2nd Leg
Didier Drogba scored twice as Chelsea swept into their first Champions League final at the expense of Liverpool on a night of high drama at Stamford Bridge. The Ivorian opened the scoring with a 12-yard strike, but Fernando Torres’s drive sent the game into extra-time. Frank Lampard restored the lead from the spot after Michael Ballack had been felled, before Drogba prodded a third. Ryan Babel’s 35-yarder prompted a tense finale, but Chelsea held on to seal a tie with Manchester United in Moscow.
6. Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool, Champions League Quarter Final 2009, 2nd Leg
Chelsea survived a huge scare before drawing one of the most entertaining Champions League games of recent times to seal a 7-5 aggregate win over Liverpool and book a semi-final against Barcelona. Guus Hiddink’s team led 3-1 after the first leg at Anfield but Fabio Aurelio’s free-kick after an awful misjudgement from Petr Cech and Xabi Alonso’s penalty put Liverpool in control at the break. Jose Reina fumbled Didier Drogba’s deft touch into his own net and Alex’s thunderbolt free-kick levelled the scores on the night with two goals in six dramatic second-half minutes. The inspirational Frank Lampard put the Blues 3-2 ahead, slotting home Drogba’s intelligent cross. The tie looked finished but Liverpool were not done yet and Lucas Leiva’s deflected strike was quickly followed by Dirk Kuyt’s near-post header. It was 4-3 to Liverpool with seven minutes of normal time remaining and Stamford Bridge was stunned, while the Reds required just one more goal to complete a sensational victory on away goals. But Lampard converted Nicolas Anelka’s pass to level at 4-4 in the final dramatic action of a truly memorable game of football. Liverpool were without their skipper Steven Gerrard because of an injury but came close to pulling off a memorable victory without their inspirational leader.