Liverpool vs. Chelsea: Anfield is a Fortress, Unless Chelsea Is In Town

May 8, 2012, Anfield, and Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool is looking for revenge over Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea after being knocked out of the FA Cup the previous weekend.

And they get it, resoundingly. Goals from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger followed a Michael Essien own-goal to put the hosts 3-0 up at half-time. Brazilian Ramires gave Chelsea a pang of hope by bundling in from close range five minutes into the second half but Ross Turnbull’s poor clearance saw Jonjo Shelvey score from distance to win the game 4-1.

Why should we care about this now? But for an emphatic victory that may be remembered by those in the Kop there was little significance in the end for both teams. Yet this was the last time the mighty Liverpool managed to beat Chelsea at Anfield. Five years and seven attempts have all ended in defeat or stalemate.

The only survivor from both squads is Henderson. Agger is retired. Shelvey is at Newcastle, his third club since leaving Liverpool. Essien now plays in the Indonesian league after stints in Spain, Italy and Greece. And Ramires was one of the big-money-movers to China. The dugouts have seen six different managers since—two at Liverpool and four at Chelsea. Anfield has been a fortress for quite a while, just not for Liverpool when Chelsea is in town.

Related: Can Liverpool ruin Manchester City’s January transfer plans?

Jurgen Klopp Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, Liverpool, November 1. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty

Klopp has actually rather preferred the reverse fixture. His was one of only two teams to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last season in 24 games. The year before, the German orchestrated a 3-1 win in west London in just his second game in charge of the team. 

But this weekend the Blues travel to Anfield, once again. On Saturday, Antonio Conte’s title winners make the 200-mile trip north and they’re back to their formidable best. A 4-0 win over West Brom on Saturday followed the tactical masterclass against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United before the international break, which ended 1-0.

But Liverpool, too, goes into the game high on confidence. The big criticism of Klopp’s team this season has been its inability to defend, examples being compared to Sunday league football. Yet that gaping hole seems to have been somewhat plugged. Only once has Liverpool defense been beaten in six hours of play, which came against West Ham when the points were already won.

Klopp also has a man with a point to prove in his team. Mohamed Salah was, possibly, the surprise package of the summer transfer window, deemed one of the more savvy buys. Liverpool was willing to pay a club £39.9 million (about $48.9 million) for the Egyptian winger, despite his less than convincing time at Stamford Bridge.

Salah ended up featuring just 13 times in a Chelsea shirt over two seasons after the club bought him from FC Basel in 2014. But he has been no flop for Klopp. Salah already has 14 goals in 18 appearances for Liverpool this season, reaching a tally by November that none of his teammates have managed in the previous two campaigns.

He is a completely different player to the one Mourinho discarded at Chelsea three years ago, but he will be keen to inflict defeat on his previous employers. It has been five long years for the Anfield faithful as well. They’ll be sat in the Kenny Dalglish Stand willing him to help end a record that lasts back to his reign.