Full-time - 90'
1 - 3
UEFA Champions League
18:45 +00:00, April 8, 2009
Referee: Claus Bo Larsen
Liverpool meanwhile, were almost entirely nullified. It's no secret that if Gerrard and Torres are kept quiet, they have very little goal threat from elsewhere, and tonight, for the most part, they were as quiet as a mute mouse sucking on an everlasting gobstopper in a monastery.
Chelsea could not have played very much better tonight. At the back they were solid, their midfield passed and moved well, and Drogba was at his beast-like best. Hell, even Malouda and Kalou played well.
LIVERPOOL 1 - CHELSEA 3
Essien clears and that's it. Well played Chelsea, who, it must be said, were excellent tonight. I bet Roman wishes he'd sacked Scolari sooner.
Alonso shoots from distance and Cech tips it over the bar. Reina is forward for the corner.
Good ball to Torres from Benayoun who plays it back to Torres who returns the compliment and lobs the ball into Cech's hands for his first save of the second half.
Good ball to Torres from Benayoun, but Alex and Terry crowd him out. The linesman signals a goalkick but the ref incorrectly overrules him and gives a corner, which comes to nothing.
3 added minutes.
Chelsea almost score again, Lampard striding clear in the inside-right channel after good work from Essien, but Reina saves his shot.
Anelka runs free on the right, and Gerrard is forced to slide in and concede a corner. Meanwhile the Chelsea fans ask him if he knows what the score is. His face certainly suggests that he does.
It's easily cleared, to Carragher, who lofts it aimlessly and harmlessly into the air and Cech's waiting arms.
They do, however, win a corner on their right which Gerrard will take.
Gerrard's cross is easy for Cech. Liverpool look shellshocked and have mustered very little since Chelsea's second goal.
You have to say, it does appear that Hiddink knows what he's doing. Chelsea have been very well organised and kept their heads and their shape when they went behind.
Alonso spins a pass out to Dossena wide on the left but he miscontrols.
Even Malouda is playing well for Chelsea, and he gets free again but Liverpool clear his cross.
Babel replaces Lucas and goes wide right with Kuyt going up front.
Anelka replaces Drogba, who despite the missed chances has played well tonight and kept Carragher and Skrtel occupied.
Chelsea are sitting back and defending deep, although they now break and Dossena almost scores an own goal, heading Drogba's cross into Reina.
Good lofted ball from Benayoun, but Cech comes out to punch clear.
Essien has done a very good job on Gerrard tonight.
Good ball wide to Dossena from Benayoun, but his cross is easily dealt with. You can't help but feel that Liverpool need to score in the next fifteen to keep this tie alive.
Dossena on for Aurelio, who has not had a good game.
Dossena is getting ready to come on. That'll sort it.
Benayoun tried to trick his way past Cole but is easily robbed. Bet he wishes he was with his family celebrating Passover, which is also tonight. Still, this is a verison of the bitter herbs he'd be eating were he there, and he may shed some real tears instead of the symbolic saltwater.
Kalou carries the ball 30 yards, finds Malouda, and his shot is saved.
Perhaps Liverpool saw highlights of the Barca game at half time and thought we're well out of this.
Benayoun replaces the anonymous Riera.
GOAL! Great ball inside the full back, Malouda hammers the ball low across the penalty area from the right, and even Drogba can't miss, sidefooting home from five yards.
I wonder if Benitez hasn't believed a little too much in his team. When he knew they weren't as good as their opponents, he was expert and devising stfling tatics to maximise what he had. Now he thinks they're the equal of anyone, his approach is more open, and the superior technical ability of the Chelsea players is exploiting that, so far.
Chelsea have played very well tonight and deserve to be in front.
Torres tries to barge his way through Alex, but concedes a foul.
GOAL! From another Lampard corner, this time on the left, Ivanovic heads home. He was completely unmarked.
Both men are now up, and Terry is booked for his tackle, and is therefore suspended for the second leg. I thought that was harsh, but for Chelsea it may well be handy as Carvalho is now fit again, and him and Alex is, in my not very humble opinion, Chelsea's best defensive pairing.
A collision betwen Terry and Reina leaves both on the floor. The Liverpool players are whinging about the challenge, but the ball bounced in front of Reina and he had every right to go for it, although he's come off worse.
It's not just about gettingthe decisions right either. They also don't conduct themselves like self-important middle managers, brandishing cards like javelin throwers.
Essien is down and the referee stops the game. During the break in play, it's worth observing that the referee tonight has been excellent. As I mentioned in commentary last night, the standard relative to the Premier League is exceptionally high.
Ballack wins a header from a Lampard free kick, but doesn't get firm enough contact. Lampard then play a blind pass back to Cech which goes out for a corner. You'd think he'd be able to see the orange top.
Liverpool fans sing a song about Joleon Lescott looking like the Elephant Man, but in actual fact, is it possible to be uglier than the gargoylacious Dirk Kuyt?
Cole cuts out Alonso's lofted ball aimed from left to right at Kuyt.
Good stooping header from Gerrard puts Torres through in the inside-left position, but he hits it high and then pretends to be injured hoping no one will notice his miss.
Lampard cuts in off the right and shoots, but it's straight at Reina.
Chelsea cross from the left but Liverpool scramble it away.
Off the line from Crragher. Aurelio gave it away, Drogba rounded Reina but his shot wasn't hard enough to roll in. Had he lofted it, he'd have scored anyway.
Gerrard picks the ball up wide on the left, runs away from Ballack and has a shot from 20 yards, but drags it wide. Terry is gobbing off at the referee.
Essien heads the corner clear.
Riera runs at Ivanovic who does well but conedes a corner.
Good tackle on Torres by Kalou.
Terry is adjudged to have fouled Torres, when Torres actually ran into him on purpose, flung himself to the ground and appealed for a free kick. Aurelio's free kick is too long and goes out for a goalkick.
Good play from the freshly-cornrowed Malouda and he wins a free kick.
Liverpool to kick off.
Seeing the Chelsea goal again makes you wonder why anyone bothers with zonal marking. Ivanovic met the ball with a running jump, and although Alonso wasn't paying proper attention, it's almost impossible to defend if the ball and movement are good.
Despite my pessimism, this has has been a good half, with both teams going for it. With better finishing from Drogba, who's been a constant danger, Chelsea could be well ahead. Liverpool might need another man in midfield to counter Chelsea's trio, because as the half went on, they were outpassed in that area, although they still looked capable of scoring again.
HALF TIME: LIVERPOOL 1 - CHELSEA 1
1 additional minute.
4-0 to Barca - Henry. A Bayern player whacked Messi off the ball in the build-up but it's a bit late for that.
Lampard robs Lucas, feeds Drogba in the inside-left channel and he shoots ridiculously when Lampard was well-placed to receive the return. Fwank is not happy.
In all the excitement I forgot to mention that Messi has scored again for Barca. 3-0 and game over.
The corner is cleared and Alonso overhits his attempted cross.Benitez is mumbling to himself like a madman.
Kuyt nutmegs Terry who sells himself far too easily, but Cech smothers his shot. Corner.
GOAL! Lampard's cross is headed home by Ivanovic, who runs away from Alonson to score with relative ease. Well deserved by Chelsea.
Reina fumbles the cross and Chelsea win another corner, this time from the right.
Good passing from Chelsea, zipping the ball around and Lampard's shot is deflected wide.
Essien is a little encumbered by Chelsea's formation. I shamelessly refer you to my pre-match preamble.
Liverpool almost score again. Arbeloa cuts inside onto his left foot and curls a shot not too far wide from 20 yards.
As you may have guessed, after 34 decent minutes, there's been a little lull in proceedings.
Talking of matters hirsute, I'm intrigued as to the thought process behind Benitez's goatee. Did he suddenly think hmm, I'd look great with one of those? He does not.
John Terry's hair is receeding at an alarming rate. There will soon be an island at the front, sitting, rather like Britain in the days of Empire, in splendid isolation.
Ivanovic heads Kuyt's cross clear.
Riera fouled by Ballack and Kalou is booked for kicking the ball away.
Cole is almost caught out by Torres, but he wrestles him out of possession.
Bad miss by Drogba. Great ball from Ballack wide on the left and Drogba lashes it over the bar with his left foot.
Gerrard has hardly featured so far, which isn't especially a criticism. Benitez always knew he didn't have the nous to run a game, so now he uses his ability to do important things at important times without the responsibility of having to orchestrate, which is beyond him.
Lampard is robbed by Torres who curls a shot from 20 yards not far over the bar.
Too high from Lampard, but the ball falls to Kalou and his lob over the Liverpool defence catches them as they run out for offside, but the bounce takes it away from Alex.
Corner to Chelsea on the right. They're definitely on top now.
Malouda only just wide. Chelsea work it well from right to left and the low shot is close. Reina makes as though he knew it was going wide, but had it been on target he'd have been nowhere near.
25 yards out and central, Alex hammers it into the wall.
Another free kick to Chelsea in a dangerous position.
Peter Cech's bright orange top clashes with Liverpool's red, although it does at least make him visible to any passing motorists.
Kalou is back on.
Useless effort into the wall.
Kalou is limping off and it's not looking clever for him. Lampard on the free kick, 25 yards out on the right.
Good football from Chelsea. Alex into Essien into Kalou, who's fouled by Aurelio.
Alonso breaks with the ball through the centre of the pitch but his pass is nowhere near Torres.
Lampard's shot is blocked by Skrtel, the ball comes back and Drogba tries to reach it, but he's offside. Lampard, however, wasn't, and had Drogba left it alone, it'd probably be 1-1.
Good idea from Gerrard, cutting across the ball and hitting it low to meet Lucas's run through the middle but he can't control.
Great ball from Alonso to Kuyt wide on the right, but Alex heads the eventual cross clear.
2-0 Barca - Eto'o has scored. Shirley they will massacre the winners of this tie in the next round.
I've just noticed that both Chelsea centre backs have first names for surnames.
Gerrard wins possession and feeds Torres who beats Terry but can't get away from Alex.
Alex to Essien, wide to Kalou and back inside to Essien, but his shot hit Drogba.
The sublime Messi has just scored for Barca against Bayern Munich in tonight's other game.
Drogba should equalise. Kalou robbed Aurelio, worked it through to Drogba, but he whacked it straight at Reina.
Long diagonal ball from Lampard right to left, Arbeloa heads clear.
GOAL! Torres scores for Liverpool. Alex clears acrobatically, Kuyt seizes on the loose ball, plays a pass inside Ashley Cole and Torres calmly converts the cross from 12 yards.
Liverpool may miss Mascherano tonight. Partly because he's good, and partly because Lucas, his replacement, isn't. That's the space the Lampard will be looking to exploit.
Gerrard swings it out from the right, and Kuyt hits his shot well, but Ivanovic deflects it wide. No matter, the flag was up.
Torres wins a corner off Alex.
Lampard has started playing in a very advanced role and Malouda and Kalou are either side of Drogba.
Liverpool will, I imagine, be looking to get Torres running at Terry if they can, who has more lumber than a Canadian river.
Chelsea kick off.
It looks as though Hiddink has come to attack, having left out Mikel, although I wouldn't want to tell Ballack he wasn't playing either. Actually that's not true, I would. But in picking this team, Hiddink might be marginalising Essien, for my money his best player, who'll now have to sit instead of going box-to-box.
And the subs for Liverpool are: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Agger, Benayoun, Babel, N'Gog.
And for Chelsea: Hilario, Carvalho, Mikel, Deco, Belletti, Anelka, Mancienne.
Anyway, tonight's teams:
Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Carragher, Skrtel, Arbeloa, Lucas, Alonso, Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera, Torres.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, A Cole, Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda, Drogba, Kalou.
If this season's Champions League quarter finals were Beatles, this one would be Ringo; functional, forgettable, and ugly. Or perhaps it'll be a fest of flowing football, goals and joy. Yeh right.
John Mikel Obi