The new millennium saw Chelseaai??i??s emergence as a ai???big teamai??i?? that challenged the supremacy of Manchester United, broke the dominance of Wengerai??i??s Arsenal and knocked Liverpool off from any constant threats. This meteoric rise of Chelsea is best studied in juxtaposition with the denouement of Liverpool. Gaining the financial upper hand was necessary. Chelsea had hit the nail on its head when the time was ripe. On the contrary, Liverpool were late to act and when they finally acted it was a bloody mess.

Millennium brought boon to English football. It was getting popular day by day, not only in Europe but across the world too, especially the rich market of Asia. With more and more matches televised, money started to pour into the game. The game itself was changing at a menacing pace. It was an interesting time. More teams from England (from 2 to 4) were participating in the UCL. Hence, gaining the UCL qualification spot became the priced jackpot.

Early Years

Liverpool took the initiative of this new wave of change in England. 2000/01 was a historic season for Liverpool as the Reds bagged treble of cup success. Most importantly they made an inroad to Champions League football after more than a decadeai??i??s absence. The next season (2001/02) also went brilliant for the Merseysiders. They took a step forward in their quest for title by beating Chelsea at Anfield in March courtesy 90th min winner from Vladimir Smicer. The inertia under Roy Evans was transformed into a bright optimism under Gerard Houllier as Liverpool finished second only to Arsenal.

Turning Point

2002/03 will perhaps go down as ai???the pivotal seasonai??? in the destiny of both the clubs in recent years. Getting into the champions league meant something more than just prestige. It ensured pots of money. But, who would have thought that God of wealth will himself take the driversai??i?? seat of Chelseaai??i??s train to success? In 2003, Roman Abramovich became the owner of Chelsea FC. Since then, money has never been a problem for the Londoners.

The Man Who Made All The Difference

.

But, money was a huge factor at Anfield. The club needed further lift in the wake of the changing face of the game. Former chief executive Rick Parry was in search of a wealthy benefactor. However, it was not an immediate concern. The early promises that Liverpool had shown for the 1st two seasons of the new millennium took a dip. As the season progressed it turned from bad to sour to catastrophic. They needed to play in the European Cup. They needed to buy top talents. Arsenal and United were already in a different league, giving an edge to Chelsea was simply not acceptable. At The Bridge, both the sides met on the final day for the 4th spot where everything was at stake. The Reds took the early lead through Sami Hyypia but The Blues had the last laugh. False dawn became eponymous with Liverpool FC for the rest of the decade.

Jose & Rafa: THE Rivalry

The following season Liverpool crawled back to 4th place again. Chelsea with new injection of cash were aiming higher. Top international stars like Damien Duff, Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron, Joe Cole et al made Chelsea their new home. At Merseyside, Houllierai??i??s team couldnai??i??t perform to the level that was expected. Chelsea finished 2nd behind Arsenal but Claudio Ranieri couldnai??i??t save his job under the new regime. Self proclaimed ai???the special oneai???, Jose Mourinho entered the Bridge arena & graced London with his halo. Liverpool went back to the state of inertia again. Club hero Michael Owenai??i??s departure to Real Madrid left the press speculating about Gerrardai??i??s future too. In came Rafa Benitez for LFC.

The task was onerous. Bridging the gap with Chelsea was a bridge too far to cross, that too with the squad he had at his disposal. Rafa turned his attention to Europe and master minded Liverpool to an incredible Champions League victory at Istanbul. Out of the mire, finally ai???ITai??? shone like a beacon.

Jose on the other hand took Chelsea to their 1st league title in 50 years. Taking the post of a messiah- his arrogance, his charisma, his overall demeanor was greeted, scorned and at times cherished by the English people and press. Chelsea won the Carling Cup final by defeating Liverpool at Cardiff. That was first of many epic battles to follow. Rafa took revenge by beating Chelsea at Anfield in UCL semifinal; a controversial Luis Garcia goal settling the tie in Redsai??i?? favour.

The acrimony between the two successful managers became the hallmark of this fixture. While Jose continued to dominate on English soil, Rafa was slowly building his side as one of Europeai??i??s most feared opponents. Another European final, challenging for the premiership honours, steady progress was clearly visible.

Aftermath

Chelsea under Jose were such a strong squad, that all they needed was a good caretaker to guide the team after his departure. Chelsea regained premiership title under Carlo Ancelotti and continued their blue revolution in style.

At Merseyside, it was all grey. The parsimonious owners took the club to the lowest ebb. Liverpool down under gargantuan debt faced the threat of administration. They were knocked out of Europe, finished 7th in the league and Rafa was sacked- in a nutshell ai???apocalypse of doomsdayai??? loomed large.

Red Turning Blue: The Change That Only Intensified The Rivalry

.

Chelsea grabbed the headlines by sacking Carlo Ancelotti after finishing 2nd in the table. Standards are such at The Bridge these days that even a top two finish is regarded as below par. Liverpool too sacked their ai???out of depth managerai??i?? Roy Hodgson, and welcomed club legend Kenny Dalglish for his 2nd coming ai???restoration of monarchyai??i??. This was followed by KOP idol Fernando Torresai??i??s acrimonious departure to Chelsea. The move was seen by the red hearts as an act of betrayal.

As it stands, both the clubs are looking for ai???some-sort-of-stabilityai??i?? in their quest for supremacy. For the Liverpool fans, this might give you something to cheer about- Kenny Dalglish has never lost to Chelsea in the league as a Liverpool manager.

Written by Guest Author Saikat Mandal

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5 Responses to “Chelsea v Liverpool: A Decade Of Rivalry In Retrospection”

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  1. dan says:

    I don’t know of wat “rivalry” you speak of here. chelsea fans seem to want a rivalry with liverpool, liverpool fans simply couldn’t give a toss about chelsea. end of story.

    • kaka says:

      Actually no team is taking looserpool seriously these days. What do you expect from a team with just one striker? win the league?……….. nah!

      • Aditya Sharma says:

        Hey Kaka ,,, Chelsea 1, Liverpool 2.
        Now you know what to expect from the team with ‘just one striker’.
        Ohh, and ‘looserpool’? Real mature, son…

  2. RoyK says:

    Whts the bloody pt of this piece? Or u r jus writing ths to humour urself? Meaningless article

  3. Pulaha Chaudhuri says:

    It will be interesting to see how Torres reacts if he scores a goal.