Full-time - 92'
0 - 0
18:45 +00:00, September 28, 2005
That's full time. Neither side covered themselves in glory but neither side will be overly disappointed with the result. That not one clear cut goal scoring opportunity was created in ninety minutes tells you all you need to know. Let's hope Sunday's Premiership game between the two is rather more entertaining.
Wright- Philips makes a great tackle on Luis Garcia but the referee sees it differently and awards a free kick in an area similar to where Gerrard scored a screamer against Olympiakos last season. Sadly for Liverpool, the end product is not the same and he skies the ball high in to the Kop.
Terry hacks Alonso from behind and Liverpool prepare to launch another high ball in to the Chelsea box. The inevitable option of Peter Crouch is chosen but he fails to make any sort of telling impact on the ball. Which he has failed to do on the game also tonight.
Drogba wins a free kick for Chelsea near the Liverpool eighteen yard line. Lampard sees his cross headed away by Finnan for a Chelsea throw in which leads to Liverpool's defence heading away to safety.
Wright-Philips has now beaten Traore twice in the air. Draw your own conclusions from that.
Finnan breaks up a Chelsea move from the heart of the Liverpool defence then joins the attack to feed Pongolle in the Chelsea penalty area. Lovely skill from Pongolle sees him trick Terry and his cross is only knocked as far as Alonso who is lurking on the eighteen yard line. He hits a venomous shot towards Cech's goal and it is only just over the bar. Good play.
Garcia is forced wide left by Essien who shows his strength and shepherds the ball to safety for a goal kick.
Pongolle needlessly gives the ball to Wright-Philips but he is then tackled easily by Gerrard. This has been the story of the night. Mistake has begat mistake.
Pongolle is on now for Liverpool.
Liverpool's corner is punched clear by Cech and the ball falls for Alonso whose rasping drive from twenty five yards out screams past Cech's right hand post. Worth a try.
That is the Irishman's last contribution. Crespo is coming on now in place of him. The Liverpool defence know all about the Argentine but should he score a brace this late on a comeback is most unlikely.
Reina has to scramble to save from Duff after a mistimed back pass. The keeper did well to deny what has, in this half, been a rare Chelsea attack.
Drogba tries to feed Essien but Chelsea do not seem too interesed in attacking with numbers at the minute. They seem content to sit back and try to hit Liverppol on the break.
Luis Garcia overhits a pass out to Gerrard on the right but the Liverpool captain does well to stretch out and reach it, before getting in a cross which Cech has to deal with.
Crouch is fouled by Carvalho who, if you can believe this, is climbing all over the lanky Englishman. Gerrard plays in a high ball from forty five yards out which Hypia tries to direct goalwards. This he manages but fails to trouble Cech.
Shaun Wright-Philips is on for Robben. Oh the luxury.
Gerrard whips in a wicked bending ball between Cech and his defenders who, panic stricken, clear for a corner. This is then hit in by Gerrard before the Chelsea defence regain their composure and clear the ball with rather more aplomb.
Gallas prevents Cisse from advancing down the right but Liverpool have the throw deep in Chelsea's territory. A rash tackle from Lampard on Cisse brings a booking for the Englishman and a Liverpool free kick in a dangerous area.
There is much more of a sense of urgency about Liverpool's play now. A driving run through the middle by Gerrard sees him clatter in to Terry's back but play is waved on.
At the other end, Ferreira now concedes a corner with a challenge on Garcia. The Spaniard's cross is then met by Carragher's head followed by Gallas's arm. If he wasn't holding on to Cisse it wouldn't have happened. Liverpool shout, in vain, for a penalty. They have been given for much less.
Duff sells Traore a lovely dummy and he plays a pass back to Ferreira, whose long hoisted cross in to the Chelsea area, sees Drogba scrambling with the Liverpool defenders to win a header. He doesn't. So far the Ivory Coast man is not having the best of nights.
Luis Garcia wins a header from Terry and Ferreira on the eighteen yard line and, clean through on the Chelsea goal with only Cech to beat, appears to have his shirt pulled by Ferreira. The ref is not interested.
Now Chelsea have a free kick near the Liverpool box and Lampard sends Robben scurrying down the left. His ball in is not good enough.
Liverpool are knocking the ball around with something approaching confidence but can not find a chink in Chelsea's armour. Alonso's ball in to the box is grasped by Cech.
Liverpool get the second half started attacking an expectant Kop. No substitutions to report.
That's half time. No extra time played. Not so much seat-of-your-pants stuff more slight-whiff-of-my-pants. Which is not something anything should smell of, especially a Champions League qualifier on "Match Day Two". It's been predictably attritional, littered with errors with not a lot to shout about. Chelsea, perhaps, have played the better football but there ain't much in it. You would have to favour the London team in the second half when you look at the substitutes they can call on.
Hamman dinks a ball through to Gerrard in the middle and he in turn plays a lovely pass forward to Cisse who gets behind Chelsea's defence before shooting straight at Cech.
Nice feet from Crouch (great touch for a big lad) starts a Liverpool move which flows from right to left but ends, as all their forays in to the Chelsea half have, disapointingly, with a tame shot wide from Garcia.
Drogba pretends to be hurt. He isn't. Get up.
Carvalho tackles Cisse but then is unfortunate to be penalised for a challenge on Hamman. Free kick to Liverpool on the left. Gerrard bends a cross in head height but Lampard gets rid with a fierce clearance.
Liverpool free kick about forty yards from Chelsea's goal. Gerrard tries a quick one but is pulled back by the ref. Second time round the ball in to the box is cleared with ease by Essien. A bit of a waste.
Makele plays a probing ball over the Liverpool defence for Drogba to chase but it is just to far ahead for the big man to claim. Chelsea are stepping up a gear.
Robben drifts in to the Liverpool penalty area following a great ball from Drogba but a last ditch tackle from Hypia denies him a shot. Chelsea come back for more and Robben brings a marvellous save from Reina with a vicious right foot shot. Another corner for Chelsea but again it comes to nought.
Duff's corner sees Drogba rising with Reinawhilst staring right at the golakeeper and this time the ref is correct to penalise the challenge.
Duff leads an attack down the left and a nice one two between him and Essien brings a corner for Chelsea. Better.
Neither team has got a grip on this game. Far too many stray passes and a dirth of ideas when in possession are seeing each side gift each other the ball too easily.
Gerrard invites Makele to make a tackle by attempting to shield the ball from him and the exuberant challenge from the Frenchman sees the ref produce another yellow card.Harsh.
Traore's cedes possesion far too easily in Chelsea half and gifts them an attacking opportunity. From this, a free kick for the Blues on their right hand touchline is delivered disapointingly by Robben though and Liverppol head the ball to safety.
Drogba tackles Hypia in the Chelsea penalty area (!) and his claims to have won the ball are, frankly, a lie. Liverpool's penalty claims are ignored by Massimo de Santis however.
At the other end a misplaced header from Hypia tees up Lampard near the eighteen yard box but he hits a tame shot wide of Reina's goal.
Traore, drifting in to the middle, threads a ball to Gerrard about twenty five yards out, but Gerrard spoons his effort over the bar.
Chelsea's passing is somewhat stilted and lacking in composure. They have not strung together a move of note yet.
Garcia surges forwards but Duff retreats in to his own half to challenge him. Both players showed their feet but the ref thought Garcia's were uglier than the Irishman's. Free kick Chelsea.
Liverpool are increasingly looking to Crouch to provide their attacking focus. Long balls launched in his direction seem to be the order of the day.
Nastly tackle from Lampard on Gerrard, catching the Liverpool captain on the shin. "I'm the best running midfielder in England".
A Liverpool attack down the left sees TRaore send a teasing ball in high from the byline. Crouch, predictably, gets a head to it but just as predictably the minimal contact on Cech sees the ref blow for a foul.
Reina did not look clever from the corner and somewhat flapped at it. A fingertip on the ball was moissed by the referee and Liverpool are awarded a goal kick.
Alonso is booked for pulling Essien's jersey right in front of the ref. Silly boy. Chelsea free kick about forty yards out. Lampard has a go and brings a save from Reina which gives the Blues a first corner.
So far, so little to report. Some tentative probing from either side with little to back it up. The crowd are noisy though.
It has been raining most of the afternoon on Merseyside which should give the pitch a slippy sheen.
A throw in for Chelsea deep into Liverpool's half. Liverpool clear through a Carragher header. The resultant return ball over Steve Finnan brings a good challenge on Drogba from Carragher. Goal kick to Liverpool.
Straight from the kick off Drogba bizzarely hoofs it for a Liverpool goal kick.
We're off. Liverpool, playing in their gold tinted "We're European Champions" strip, are attacking the Anfield Road end. The referee, Massimo de Santis, is an Italian copper. So no messing.
Will Chelsea exact some measure of revenge for last season's controversial Champions League exit at Anfield, or can Liverpool prove that result was not a fluke? Whichever, tonight provides both teams with the perfect platform to show the whole of Europe that the Premiership has not become a byword for drudgery. Perhaps.
Round 5,063 of the seemingly endless bout between these two teams this year (round 5,064 coming on Sunday). "It's a boxing match", screams Benitez. "Mourinho is Mohammed Ali", screams Drogba. "How did I get here?", laughs Djimi Traore.
Chelsea team: 1-Petr Cech; 20-Paulo Ferreira, 26-John Terry (c), 6-Ricardo Carvalho, 13-William Gallas; 5-Mickael Essien, 4-Claude Makelele, 8-Frank Lampard; 11-Damien Duff, 15-Didier Drogba, 16-Arjen Robben
Liverpool team: 25-Jose Manuel Reina; 3-Steve Finnan, 23-Jamie Carragher, 4-Sami Hyypia, 21-Djimi Traore; 10-Luis Garcia, 16-Dietmar Hamann, 8-Steven Gerrard (c), 14-Xabi Alonso; 15-Peter Crouch, 9-Djibril Cisse
Join us at GMT 19.45 for all the action from Anfield as Liverpool take on Chelsea.
John Arne Riise