5 greatest Champions League quarter-finals of all time
#4 Liverpool vs Chelsea, 2009
In the 2005-2009 period, Liverpool and Chelsea contested some of the fiercest, most controversial Champions League matches of all time.
The quarter-final clash in 2009 was the final one in that series and the Blues were being managed by Guus Hiddink at that point in time. Liverpool had edged past Chelsea in the 2005 and 2007 semi-finals before Chelsea finally beat Liverpool to go all the way to the 2008 CL final.
First Leg – Liverpool 1-3 Chelsea
The first leg took place at Anfield and as was the norm at that time, Fernando Torres put Liverpool ahead. However, Chelsea clawed back to not just draw level but also obtain a two-goal lead thanks to right-back Branislav Ivanovic’s double and Didier Drogba’s goal in what was an open contest, with both teams committed to attack.
The result was a shock considering Anfield was a fortress, especially in Europe, and Chelsea went back to London assured of having the tie in the bag.
(Video Courtesy – GugaTV YouTube Channel)
Second leg – Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool
However, Liverpool’s history of making comebacks meant the tie was far from over. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was ruled out of the 2nd leg with a groin injury while Fernando Torres started the match half-fit and was replaced in the second-half.
Chelsea captain John Terry was suspended for the match and what came about next was a comedy of defensive errors that laid the foundations for a classic.
Fabio Aurelio went for goal from a distant free-kick and scored before Xabi Alonso converted a penalty to level the aggregate 3-3.
However, the Blues came out strong in the second-half with Pepe Reina, Liverpool’s goalkeeper fumbling Drogba’s shot into his own net and Chelsea defender Alex scoring a thunderbolt to level the match 2-2.
Frank Lampard scored later to make the score 3-2 in favour of Chelsea and the aggregate now stood at 6-3 with time running out. However, Liverpool were far from finished as they rallied to score two quick goals via Lucas Leiva’s deflected shot and a Dirk Kuyt header to once again swing the tie in their favour.
With seven minutes remaining, the Reds needed one more goal to win the tie on away goals. Lampard decided to take hold of the game and finished the match with his second goal of the night in what was one of the finest nights in Champions League football.