Chelsea visit Liverpool on Saturday in what is one of English football’s great rivalries since the turn of the millennium.
Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ in the 2005 Champions League semi-final remains the most memorable – and controversial – moment of what turned into one of the most highly-charged fixtures in English football.
There was no particular geographical reason for the two teams to develop such an intense opposition to one another, but there were plenty of other factors.
The contrast between the two clubs’ fortunes at the time was particularly striking. While they are a working man’s club, Liverpool were part of English football’s traditional aristocracy, whereas Chelsea were on the up, funded by the new money of Roman Abramovich.
As Frank Lampard put it in an interview with Jamie Carragher for the Daily Mail: “We were the new kids on the block who had a few quid and signed a load of players. Jose puffed his chest out and then we kept playing each other. It was a clash of two ideals.”
In Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho, two managers were in charge who were both looking to make their mark in England. Both astute tacticians, the battle in the dugout was just as fierce as that on the pitch.
All these factors combined to ensure the clashes between the two sides were always fascinating, always competitive and always dramatic.
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