Chelsea and Liverpool play out a 1-1 draw in an exciting end-of-season affair at Stamford Bridge.
John Terry gave his side the lead but Liverpool’s captain, Gerrard, respond with a similar headed goal, with both goals coming at either end of the first half.
It means the Blues continue to be undefeated at Stamford Bridge, whilst Liverpool have all but resigned themselves to a Europa League spot.
Mourinho, with nothing but pride to lose, opted to still select a strong line-up, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek the only headline difference. Some of Chelsea’s key players had been given some four days off to celebrate, with some only returning to training 48 hours ago. Fringe players like Zouma, Luis and Remy were backed up by the ever-present Terry, Ivanovic and Hazard.
The guard of honour started the match but it was the old guard who delivered in the first half.
John Terry rose highest from a Fabregas corner in the fifth minute, leaping taller than Lambert to power home an excellent header. It means the Chelsea legend registers his 39th Premier League goal and now becomes the highest scoring defender in Premier League history, moving ahead of David Unsworth, of which 22 of his 38 came from the penalty spot anyway.
The tempo was set from that moment and it made for a very entertaining day in the sunshine. Chelsea fans were at their most peaceful best, content with the title secured, whilst Liverpool fans knew their side needed to win to have any chance of usurping arch-nemesis Manchester United into a top four spot.
But despite little to play for, you always get a good game between two fierce rivals.
Tackles lunged in aplenty as five yellow cards were dished out by Marriner, who set the tone from Fabregas’ challenge in the second minute.
Chelsea kept coming and Emre Can has nightmares down the Chelsea left, with Hazard and Fabregas going past him far too easily. Mignolet was always on hand to bail his team-mate out, though.
Zouma limped off injured for Cahill and it was a mix-up between Cahill and Mikel that brought about the game’s equaliser. Gerrard, a player who received rapturous praise from Mourinho in the game’s pre-match notes, crept in unmarked at the back post to level, to score his first goal against Chelsea since 2005. It was two set-piece goals from two former England captains and it was level pegging going into the break.
And then both sides went on holiday in the second. Hazard timed it well to deliver his worst performance in a Chelsea shirt but in truth neither side had the real urge to strive for victory.
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Man of the Match
JOHN TERRY: The first name on the team-sheet and a deserved winner. A fantastic header to give Chelsea the lead and now a record-breaker with 39 Premier League goals for a defender. Kept his side in with some crunching sliding tackles and interceptions in the second half. There may be nothing to play for but you can always count on JT to deliver for you in any circumstance. 8/10
Mourinho was happy with the performance all told: “It was important for us to show that we are champions and we have the dignity of trying to get a result. But when [you go from] a team that is always playing at the limits to be champions to a team that was champions last weekend, it is normal that you lose a bit of intensity.”
Rodgers regretted not taking more advantage of a weakened Chelsea team: “I think we got off to an awful start. We got ourselves back into the game and I thought in the second half we were outstanding, [but] we just lacked that bit of quality in the final third.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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