In an annual fan survey, Chelsea have been voted the most hated team in the Premier League, overtaking Manchester United who were the most hated last season. Liverpool fans should in reality then, hate Everton and Manchester United most, but it seems that changed in the summer of 2003, when Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea.
Since the 1970s Liverpool fans have been used to success and in those days we had small rivalries with Nottingham Forrest and other successful English teams, but they all seem to have come and gone. Two rivalries have been mainstays, Everton; because of location and especially in the 1980s we were both challenging each other for most domestic competitions. Of course the second is Manchester United; again because of location and the success that both teams have had throughout the last fourty years in particular.
Now there seems to be another, and the rivalry doesn’t seem to be going away. Chelsea have never been very successful, they had the odd player of quality (Zola and Vialli come to mind) but they’ve never really threatened the top teams. All of a sudden some Russian billionaire enters and they become the richest club in the country. In just one day the face of English football had been changed, and Chelsea were to become a force. Since that day we’ve faced Chelsea 44 times, in every competition except the Europa League/UEFA Cup. These have included Champions League semi-finals and numerous domestic cup finals- even one Community Shield.
The catalyst that really sparked the rivalry was of course the 2005 Champions League semi-final, and Luis Garcia’s infamous ‘ghost goal.’ Which to the joy of myself and every other Liverpool fan still gets ex Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho going. What kept the rivalry going from that moment was two people, and their hatred for each other. Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho. Both would repeatedly bad mouth and insult each other in the press, that even continued after they had left.
Another element to the rivalry was when Chelsea and Mourinho publicly chased Mr Liverpool, Steven Gerrard, in the transfer market. Around that time he was very close to leaving and even scored an own goal in the League Cup final against Chelsea, but in the end he stayed.
Players of both teams:
There have however been a number of players who have played for both clubs in the last ten years. The biggest one being Fernando Torres, he was the main man up front for Liverpool and in his prime was the best striker in the world, although he never hit those heights in his last season it was still upsetting to hear about his £50 million move to Stamford Bridge. Thankfully his loss of form continued and we probably got a little too much for him.
Daniel Sturridge is another, he never played enough for Chelsea and his best time at the club was a loan spell with Bolton Wanderers. Since he signed for us he has become our best striker since Luis Suarez.
Another two are Yossi Benayoun and Raul Meireles, although both were liked at Anfield, neither of them lasted very long at Chelsea.
Another player who made the move up north was Joe Cole and considering he was a mainstay in the England team and a regular for Chelsea getting him on a free seemed like good business. It wasn’t. His most memorable moment in a red shirt was getting sent off against Arsenal in his league debut.
Elements of hatred:
Let’s get started with the ‘little’ things. The plastic flags. Pathetic ‘songs.’ The fans, they have no class and for some reason believe their team really are something, take Roman away and they are nothing. Not to mention the people inside the club. Jose Mourinho is one of the most hated managers in football, hypocrisy galore and an ugly style of play are just two of the things that really get on my nerves about him. Then there’s people like John Terry and Ashley Cole who are universally hated. More recently Branislav Ivanovic and Diego Costa. In the beginning of the Abramovich era they had Ricardo Carvalho and Didier Drogba. I know I can’t be the only person who hates every single one of those players. The thing is, it’s all because of the way they are on the pitch, snide cheats who just aren’t very nice in general. Then the way the fans behaved when Rafa went there (we should have been the ones annoyed about that considering he won them a European trophy!), it was a disgrace.
To top it all off they ruined that season of bliss, when Gerrard slipped and Mourinho is in his sleeveless puffer jacket celebrating at Anfield for making his team play in that manner. It’s no surprise Chelsea fans regularly can’t sell their tickets for cup finals when the team plays like that. I wouldn’t pay to watch that.
Despite the fact that neither Liverpool or Chelsea are in Europe and, Fridays game is only the fifth of the season anything can happen when we play Chelsea. They are still exciting and extremely important games to the fans.
We looked good against Spurs, and dominated Leicester so I’m looking forward to it.
Written by @LiamGrimshaw