Liverpool ends Chelsea hopes

Updated: May 9, 2012

Chelsea will have to win the Champions League final if they are to compete in next season’s edition after a 4-1 defeat by Liverpool on Tuesday ended their hopes of a top four Premier League finish.

Just three days after beating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley, 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.

Liverpool’s Stewart Downing then saw his first half stoppage-time penalty hit the post.

Ramires, who scored Chelsea’s opener at Wembley, pulled a goal back for the visitors early in the second period.

But Liverpool restored their three-goal lead in the 61st minute when Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, one of eight changes made by boss Roberto di Matteo, miscued a clearance from outside his box straight to Jonjo Shelvey and the midfielder steered the ball into an empty net from 30 yards.

England’s top four clubs will enter next term’s Champions League unless Chelsea beat Bayern Munich at the German club’s ground in the final on May 19.

If Chelsea win, it will deprive the team in fourth of a place in the preliminary round.

This defeat meant the top four was beyond Chelsea’s reach as it left them five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with just three on offer for beating already relegated Blackburn in their final league match of the season on Sunday.