Subs not used: Turnbull, Essien, Torres, Malouda, Ferreira.
Goals: Ramires 11, Drogba 52.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Spearing (Carroll 55), Henderson, Downing, Gerrard, Bellamy (Kuyt 78), Suarez.
Subs not used: Doni, Maxi, Carragher, Shelvey, Kelly.
Goal: Carroll 64
Booked: Agger, Suarez
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
For Liverpool there can be only regrets. Not over that decision, but their performance. What if they had competed from the off? What if they had shown similar spirit for the opening hour? Questions manager Kenny Dalglish will no doubt have to answer when they are posed by the club’s American owners.
The first goal defined the game. Juan Mata, whose slightest movement can quicken the heart, was given an unforgiveable amount of space and his delivery to Ramires was immaculate. The Brazilian shrugged off the inadequate challenge of Jose Enrique, Daniel Agger chased in desperation and Ramires shot past Pepe Reina. It was a soft goal. Always underdogs, Liverpool’s task was now considerably harder.
On 52 minutes Lampard skipped past Jay Spearing, who had an educational afternoon, and drove the ball into Drogba, who instinctively headed goalwards. With Martin Skrtel closing him down, the Ivorian drove the ball through his legs into the far corner. Salomon Kalou, Lampard and Drogba then went close and for Liverpool it seemed over.
MWAZIONA HIZO NGUMI !! Carroll came on shortly after the second but it seemed desperate, before a single moment transformed the occasion. Jose Bosingwa dwelt inexplicably on the ball as Stewart Downing robbed him and crossed for Carroll. Panic ensued, as Carroll turned Terry one way, then the other, before driving into the net.
Wembley was suddenly alive, as were Liverpool. While not quite Istanbul, something remarkable transpired. Liverpool, led by Carroll, were a compelling force. Steven Gerrard wrestled the midfield from Lampard and played in Glen Johnson, who put Luis Suarez into the box.
Terry was required to block a Carroll strike in injury-time as Liverpool were roared on to the end. But the moment had passed. Chelsea had survived. And for now those old warriors can celebrate, whatever the future holds.