Chelsea suffered a 4-1 defeat by Liverpool thereby ending their hopes of a top four Premier League finish. They will have to win the Champions League final if they are to compete in next season’s edition.
Chelsea were 3-0 behind inside half an hour at Anfield following an own-goal from Michael Essien and goals from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger, just three days after beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Jonjo Shelvey ended any hope of a comeback with his first Premier League goal after Ramires scored for Chelsea early in the second half. Unless Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the German club’s ground in the final on May 19, England’s top four clubs will enter next term’s Champions League. A win for Chelsea will deprive the team in fourth of a place in the preliminary round.
Chelsea will now finish in sixth spot and this defeat meant the top four was beyond the reach of them. With just three on offer for beating already relegated Blackburn in their final league match of the season, they are left five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
A win in the Champions League will save the job for interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo, and to make sure that the Blues stay in Europe next season as a 4-1 crush against Liverpool at the Anfield on Tuesday killed their even outside chance of a top four finish. Against the Red, Di Matteo played an under strength team, keeping their Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 19 in his mind.
Since Roman Abramovich took control, it is the worst final position Chelsea have ever had. After a selection gamble failed to pay off, even the much-mocked Europa League now beckons. Despite Di Matteo’s team beginning the night still in contention for a top-four berth, he said he had no regrets about making eight changes from his Cup final side for the game at Anfield.
Di Matteo had rested the likes of Didier Drogba, Juan Mata, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard and said he has no regrets. He added that the effort was there but they came up against an inspired Liverpool side. He further said that his side had some very intense games, the last one three days ago and it is hard to keep getting yourself going every three days. He said that since he has been in charge, his team has played every three days and it has been a big ask and a big demand. He thought with fresh legs and new energy they could have had a better chance.