If only it mattered. Liverpool thrash Chelsea in a night to forget for the Blues. Goals by Henderson et al condemned Chelsea to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League, meaning Chelsea will well and truly have to win the competition in two weeks to be able to continue in the competition next year.
After the exhaustions of the FA Cup victory, these two sides had different mindsets from the off. Liverpool played for revenge and pride, Chelsea played because they had to, and this was evident in the starting line-up, with Di Matteo making eight changes, even resting Petr Cech.
Post-match, Di Matteo defended himself: “I thought putting out a team that was energetic and fresh would give us a better chance”. Retrospectively, he could not have been more wrong.
From the start, Liverpool were the better side. Spurred on by the home crowd, they had the first shot, but it was dragged wide by Luis Suarez.
But Chelsea did come closest. Malouda’s corner was headed against the post by Ivanovic, in what was to be a frustrating night for Chelsea up north.
Then, 18 minutes in, Liverpool broke the deadlock. Suarez was allowed to run and run, and when Essien got back to try to help the defence, the ball inadvertently ricocheted off his thigh and in for an own goal.
It was barely six minutes later when Liverpool doubled the advantage. John Terry, who was having one of the worst matches in recent memory, slipped, and Jordan Henderson coolly slotted past Turnbull.
Two became three four minutes later. Shelvey’s corner was met by Carroll who rose highest. Agger was unmarked to head home over Bertrand: 3-0.
Torres enjoyed a torrid night thus far, the booing incessant, but he nearly silenced the crowd, his shot clattered against the underside of the bar.
Liverpool could have made it four on the stroke of half-time, but though Downing beat former Middlesbrough team-mate Turnbull, he could not beat the post.
The more Chelsea conceded, the more lethargic they looked. There was little desire to get back into the game, shown by Di Matteo not making any half-time substitutions, even though the likes of Mata and Lampard were present.
Chelsea did pull one back early in the second half, however. Florent Malouda’s free-kick evaded all heads and came off Ramires’ groin before trickling in past an angry Reina.
But the comeback was never really on. Indeed, they only restored their three-goal advantage. Calamitous goalkeeping gifted Shelvey an open goal from 40 yards, and he rifled home to make it 4-1 and restore some Liverpool pride.
Lukaku, who admits that his first year in west London was “not how I imagined”, was given rare minutes on the field, but this only typified Di Matteo’s relaxed stance to this match.
Luis Suarez could have seen red for a clash with Ivanovic, but Kevin Friend failed to see the incident.
And for all those travelling Chelsea fans, they failed to see players turn up too.