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                           | pdf edition | Wednesday May 9 2012                                           Sport
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Warren Gatland’s injury complicates
Wales tug of war over Lions duties
Unveiling of Lions coach may be delayed two months • Martyn
Williams set to win 100th cap against Barbarians Page 2



New Jersey Devils head to first Eastern
Conference finals since 2003
New Jersey Devils beat Philadelphia Flyers 3-1 on the night and 4-1
in the series to reach Eastern Conference finals for first time since
2003 Page 3


Rory McIlroy glad to be back at Players
Championship for ‘fifth’ major
McIlroy regrets skipping the tournament last year • World No1
paired with Phil Mickelson for first two days Page 3




Harlequins and                              London 2012
England captain Chris                      Olympics: ‘I
Robshaw is player of                       contemplated
season Page 3                               suicide’, says Gemma
                                            Spofforth Page 4
Roberto Di Matteo
says no regrets                             Liverpool exact final
over selection for                          revenge thanks to
Liverpool game Page 4                       Chelsea errors Page 5




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                  guardian.co.uk
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: Number 1 Scott Place, Manchester M3 3GG
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                    Wednesday May 9 2012                13:32 GMT

                                                                     to field two sides,” he said. “What we have developed in the
                                                                     last 18 months is strength in depth and the side that faces the
Warren Gatland’s injury complicates                                  Barbarians will not be weak. It is a hugely important fixture for
Wales tug of war over Lions duties                                   us and one we want to win.
                                                                         “The decision to pick Martyn, who will be on the bench, has
• Unveiling of Lions coach may be delayed                            nothing to do with sentiment. It is based on rugby common
two months • Martyn Williams set to win                              sense. Sam will not be involved and we want experience for
                                                                     what will be a difficult game. We will not be giving away caps,
100th cap against Barbarians
                                                                     something Warren has always been mindful of, and Martyn, like
Paul Rees                                                            everyone involved against the Barbarians, will have a chance of
                                                                     going on the tour.”
Rob Howley’s first major decision as acting Wales head coach
                                                                         One player not involved is Gavin Henson, whose
while Warren Gatland [http://tinyurl.com/bpav9u] recovers
                                                                     international career looks to be over. The 33-cap centre was
from two broken heels will lead to the veteran flanker Martyn
                                                                     dumped last month by Cardiff Blues, who have announced they
Williams, who is retiring at the end of the season, winning his
                                                                     will be moving back to Cardiff Arms Park next season after three
100th cap against the Barbarians on 2 June having spent nearly
                                                                     years at Cardiff City Stadium, following drunken antics on a
nine months stranded on 99.
                                                                     flight from Glasgow.
    Williams will be on the bench against the Barbarians at the
                                                                         “Gavin will not be in the squad for rugby reasons,” said
Millennium Stadium with Wales sending an advance party of
                                                                     Howley, who said it would be hard for the 30-year old, who does
15 players, including Sam Warburton who will captain the side
                                                                     not have a club, to force his way back in. “He played a part in
after recovering from a shoulder injury, to Australia two days
                                                                     our Six Nations preparation but, because of circumstances, he
beforehand to prepare for a three-Test series which starts in
                                                                     has not been playing and that has effectively ruled him out of
Brisbane on 9 June.
                                                                     the tour.”
    Gatland was due to be named on Wednesday as the Lions
                                                                         Shaun Edwards will be a part-time defence coach next
coach for next year’s three-Test tour to Australia but the
                                                                     season at London Irish, who this week lost Toby Booth, Neil
announcement will be delayed for potentially a couple of
                                                                     Hatley and Justin Bishop from their backroom team.
months while the injuries he suffered last month after a fall at
                                                                         Edwards has a contract with Wales until the end of the 2015
his holiday home in New Zealand are assessed.
                                                                     World Cup. It contains a clause that allows him to spend one
    Gatland’s left foot came out of plaster this week but it still
                                                                     day a week with a Premiership club, as well as his two days off.
has to be decided whether he will need on operation on his
                                                                         Edwards spent 10 successful years with Wasps, many of
right foot, which suffered multiple fractures. A Lions delegation
                                                                     them as head coach, before leaving the club last November
is due to visit Hong Kong and Australia at the end of the month
                                                                     after the arrival of David Young as director of rugby. He was
to assess facilities before the tour and a detour to New Zealand
                                                                     approached by Leicester before Christmas, but an offer never
to check on the Wales coach’s progress is likely.
                                                                     materialised and the Tigers have recently been talking with the
    The Lions have been in negotiations with the Welsh Rugby
                                                                     former France and London Irish defence coach, Dave Ellis.
Union [http://tinyurl.com/cd7l7o] about Gatland’s release. The
                                                                         Booth spent 10 years at Irish, latterly as head coach, and will
tourists wanted him to be free to devote his full attention to
                                                                     be part of Bath’s management team next season under the head
them from the beginning of next season but the WRU wanted
                                                                     coach Gary Gold, the former South Africa assistant coach who
Gatland to be involved in the final two of their four friendly
                                                                     joined Newcastle as their interim director of rugby last January,
internationals next season, against Australia and New Zealand,
                                                                     narrowly failing to save the Falcons from finishing bottom of
with Howley in charge for the Six Nations.
                                                                     the Premiership.
    “I spoke to Warren this morning and he is in good spirits,
                                                                         Hatley will join Booth and Gold, along with Mike Ford,
convalescing well,” said Howley. “Fingers crossed, he will be
                                                                     the former England defence coach Mike Ford, who was at
involved in Wales’s Australia tour at some stage. His right foot
                                                                     Newcastle with Gold, and Brad Davis, the one member of Bath’s
took the impact of the fall and he is having x-rays to see how it
                                                                     coaching team this season who remains.
is healing. His health is the most important thing.”
                                                                         “Bath is a very ambitious club and I am excited to be a part of
    The Lions want to know when Gatland will be able to put
                                                                     it,” said Gold. “A good culture is being developed there and I am
weight on his right foot again, which may not be until July, and
                                                                     keen to further that with my own experience and expertise.”
when he is likely to return to Britain, something that could be
delayed if he needs surgery.
    Gatland is in contact with Howley on a regular basis with




                                                                       *
Wales, the grand slam champions, facing a crucial series in
Australia. The Lions centre Jamie Roberts has already been
ruled out, with the hooker Huw Bennett, and a squad of 34 will
travel Down Under for a tour that includes a midweek fixture
against the Brumbies.                                                  From Beirut to Big Brother, Murdoch to
    The decision to send 15 players to Australia nine days before      Millionaire,
the first Test will mean effectively that a second team will play
                                                                       discuss the hot topics in the media on
the Barbarians, a fixture for which Wales alone award caps. But
Howley denied a suggestion that the game had been devalued.
                                                                       not one, but two blogs Organ Grinder and
“We are playing two matches in seven days and, given the               Greenslade
time it takes to fly to Australia and recovery time, we have           blogs.guardian.co.uk/organgrinder/
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                       guardian.co.uk
Page 3 G24 Sport                                                                     Wednesday May 9 2012                   13:32 GMT

                                                                     plays the game with a freedom and a freshness that are manna
                                                                     in the halls of the PGA Tour marketing department. He is also
New Jersey Devils head to first Eastern                              the world’s No1-ranked player. All of which make his absence
Conference finals since 2003                                         last year all the more bizarre.
                                                                         Of course much has changed in the intervening period,
New Jersey Devils beat Philadelphia Flyers                           not least that he has taken up his PGA Tour card. He has also
3-1 on the night and 4-1 in the series to reach                      changed agents, to the Dublin-based Horizon Sports from ISM,
                                                                     which he suggested early this year had led him “down the
Eastern Conference finals for first time since
                                                                     wrong path” over his decision to skip the Players.
2003                                                                     Now that he is here, he is one of the tournament favourites
Reuters                                                              – as is the case at any tournament he enters these days. After
                                                                     a disappointing 40th-placed finish at the Masters, McIlroy
Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils made their long
                                                                     returned to the top of the leaderboard at last week’s Wells Fargo
awaited return to the Eastern Conference finals after brushing
                                                                     Championship at Quail Hollow, briefly leading the field on
Philadelphia aside 3-1 on Tuesday to complete their second-
                                                                     Sunday afternoon before losing in a play-off to Rickie Fowler.
round series victory.
                                                                         McIlroy has won the Quail Hollow course before. It suits
   Smothering the Flyers’ dangerous offense as they did for the
                                                                     him, which is more than can be said about the layout at TPC
entire series, the Devils captured the best-of-seven series 4-1
                                                                     Sawgrass. He has played here twice before and missed the cut
and reached their first East final since 2003.
                                                                     both times – a poor return for a player of his shot-making ability.
   Brodeur, who helped guide New Jersey to their last Stanley
                                                                         McIlroy’s problem is that he plays aggressively, an approach
Cup in 2003, made 27 saves as the Devils resembled their
                                                                     that does not sit well on a golf [http://tinyurl.com/6dyxf8]
glory days at the start of this century when they reached three
                                                                     course that rewards caution. His solution this time is to hit
Stanley Cup finals in four years.
                                                                     fewer drivers off the tee and go with a two-iron instead. “That
   The Flyers were held to just 11 goals over the five games.
                                                                     means sacrificing some distance for me but it also makes the
   Philadelphia, without leading scorer Claude Giroux who was
                                                                     targets a little bit bigger,” he said. “If you are hitting your
serving a one-game suspension for an illegal check, opened the
                                                                     second shot from the fairway here it makes life a lot easier.”
scoring in the first period through Maxime Talbot but Bryce
                                                                         The Northern Irishman’s stature on this side of the Atlantic is
Salvador and David Clarkson responded to give New Jersey a 2-1
                                                                     reflected in his pairing alongside Phil Mickelson for the first two
lead midway through the period.
                                                                     days of this tournament. He will no doubt feature strongly in US
   Ilya Kovalchuk then added a third-period goal from a slap
                                                                     television coverage, along with Sunday’s victor Fowler, who has
shot to seal the scoring and set up an Eastern Conference
                                                                     been paired with Tiger Woods for the first 36 holes.
showdown against the winner of the series between the New
                                                                         The PGA Tour could not signal its hopes with greater clarity,
York Rangers and Washington Capitals.
                                                                     pitting the two most exciting young players of this era against
Phoenix move on, goodbye to St Louis and the                       the two stalwarts of the passing generation. For Woods and
Rangers leave it late                                                Mickelson, read McIlroy and Fowler?
                                                                         The Northern Irishman certainly hopes so. “I mean, as a fan
                                                                     growing up watching golf, I loved that Tiger was dominant and
Rory McIlroy glad to be back at Players                              I loved that Phil would come and challenge him for a while and
Championship for ‘fifth’ major                                       then Ernie [Els] and then Vijay [Singh] and then [David] Duval.
                                                                     I liked that as a story line,” he said. “I think for me if I was a golf
                                                                     fan, I’d like to see a rivalry.”
• McIlroy regrets skipping the tournament
last year • World No1 paired with Phil
Mickelson for first two days                                         Harlequins and England captain Chris
Lawrence Donegan at TPC Sawgrass                                     Robshaw is player of season
You have got to be in it to win it, which means Rory McIlroy
[http://tinyurl.com/dh65dc] is already ahead of the game at          • Saracens’ Owen Farrell is discovery of the
the Players Championship. Twelve months ago the Northern             season • Exeter’s Rob Baxter gets director
Irishman was at home, tweeting barbed comments about the             of rugby award
tournament the PGA Tour likes to think of as the “fifth” major.
                                                                     Press Association
This year he is here and glad to be so.
    “Looking back it wasn’t one of my brightest moments,” he         The Harlequins [http://tinyurl.com/4v4goa] and England
said of his decision to skip last year’s tournament. “I am glad to   captain, Chris Robshaw [http://tinyurl.com/83dfucb], has been
be back.”                                                            named player of the season at the Aviva Premiership Rugby
    Suffice to say, the tournament is more than glad to have him.    Awards.
Privately, as well as publicly, PGA Tour officials speak only in        Under Robshaw’s captaincy Harlequins finished top of the
the most glowing terms about the Tiger Woods ‘era’ and what          Premiership table and this Saturday face a home semi-final
it has done for the profile of the sport but there is growing        against Northampton at The Stoop. Robshaw captained England
acknowledgement that a new age is upon us and that McIlroy is        in only his second Test appearance and led the new-look
its figurehead.                                                      national team to four wins in the Six Nations.
    He is the right age, 23, he has the right personality and he        Robshaw’s England team-mate Owen Farrell, the Saracens
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                           guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Wednesday May 9 2012                13:32 GMT

back, picked up the Land Rover Discovery of the season award.       played every three days over eight weeks and we’ve had to
    Exeter [http://tinyurl.com/373qr9d]’s Rob Baxter was named      utilise the strength in the squad to reach the finals and to be as
QBR director of rugby of the season in recognition of the Chiefs    close as we were with two games left.”
qualifying for the Heineken Cup after only two seasons in the           Chelsea had only an outside chance of finishing above
top flight.                                                         Tottenham and Newcastle in the table before kick-off and must
    Robshaw, despite his international commitments, has played      now now beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League on 19
16 Premiership games and he saw off competition for the award       May to return to the European elite next term. i Matteo added:
from his Harlequins team-mate Mike Brown, the Leicester             “The final is a one off game. It was always going to be a high
flanker Julian Salvi, the Exeter loose forward James Scaysbrook,    pressure game. But we have to be objective as well because
the Saracens centre Brad Barritt and the Gloucester prop Nick       we’ve played 37 games and I don’t think it’s the point we lost
Wood.                                                               today that cost us. We hit the post and then the crossbar and
    “This award is richly deserved,” said the Harlequins director   that could have changed the game a little bit.”Victory ensured
of rugby, Conor O’Shea. “What I like about him is that no matter    Liverpool avoided equalling the club’s lowest return of home
which accolades come his way or what he achieves we all know        wins in a top flight campaign at Anfield and left Kenny Dalglish
what comes first with Chris is the team. He wants nothing more      enthused at the reaction to the FA Cup final defeat.
than for the team to be successful.”                                    “It was an excellent performance, one that we’ve seen a few
    The ESPN Dream Team: Mike Brown (Harlequins); Horacio           times before but without the result being as positive as that,” he
Agulla (Leicester), George Lowe (Harlequins), George Pisi           said. “It’s pleasing the result was matched by the performance
(Northampton), Alesana Tuilagi (Leicester); Toby Flood              and so the supporters go away with a smile on their face. There
(Leicester), Haydn Thomas (Exeter); Joe Marler (Harlequins),        is no other place in the Premier League where supporters would
Schalk Brits (Saracens), Dan Cole (Leicester), Samu Manoa           show appreciation like that.
(Northampton), Geoff Parling (Leicester), Chris Robshaw                 “I have a feeling of ‘what a result and what a performance’
(Harlequins, capt), James Scaysbrook (Exeter), Nick Easter          not ‘what if’. The last half hour at Wembley and that
(Harlequins).                                                       performance there was fantastic. Everyone played their part.
                                                                    Jonjo and Jordan, Luis was fantastic for the first goal and big
                                                                    Andy was unplayable. The old boy at the back [Jamie Carragher]
Roberto Di Matteo says no regrets over                              didn’t do so bad, either. Everyone played their part.”
selection for Liverpool game
                                                                    London 2012 Olympics: ‘I contemplated
• We’ve played every three days over the
last eight weeks • Kenny Dalglish: ‘It was an
                                                                    suicide’, says Gemma Spofforth
excellent performance’
                                                                    Great Britain’s former 100m backstroke
Andy Hunter at Anfield
                                                                    world record holder on coping with loss,
Roberto Di Matteo [http://tinyurl.com/cynyms3] said he had          counselling and gaining a mental advantage
no regrets over his selection policy against Liverpool [http://
                                                                    Andy Bull
tinyurl.com/42nq4e] as Chelsea [http://tinyurl.com/5ybu55]
suffered their heaviest defeat of the season and saw their faint    Before the race the swimmers wait in the call room. Each
hopes of a top-four finish expire at Anfield.                       follows her own routine. Some are still, some pace back and
    Chelsea’s interim manager made eight changes to the team        forth, some are silent, some are vocal. Gemma Spofforth, the
that beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final on Saturday and paid an     world record holder and former world champion at the 100m
emphatic price as Kenny Dalglish’s team produced a rampant          backstroke, sits, watches and thinks. “The call room,” Spofforth
first-half display to record their biggest league win of the        says, “is my sanctuary.” In there she feels she has an advantage
season. Michael Essien, with an own-goal, Jordan Henderson          over her rivals. It is not the conviction that comes with her
and Daniel Agger all scored in nine first-half minutes as the       achievements, the knowledge of her own superiority. It is what
visitors produced a calamitous defensive performance. Stewart       she does away from the pool that gives her an edge, not what
Downing also missed a penalty in first-half stoppage time – the     she has done in it.
seventh time Liverpool have failed from the spot this season, a        “I can see other people’s nerves and be one up on them,”
club record.                                                        Spofforth says. “It is nice to read people, to know they are more
    Di Matteo absolved his makeshift team and said the lowest       nervous than me or just as nervous as me. For the next minute
league finish of the Roman Abramovich era was the product           of our lives we have all got the same opportunity.”
of an underwhelming campaign rather than one off-night.                Before the British Olympic trials Spofforth says she willed
“Liverpool were the better side. They were inspired and scored      herself into a state of mental numbness. “I took away all the
goals at the right time,” he said. “I don’t think it was the team   emotions that I might need to swim fast and I took away all the
[I picked]. Liverpool were better than us and we have to given      emotions that would give me any nerves or anxiety before the
them credit. We’ve played with these players all season and         race. I was just numb because I was thinking: ‘If I don’t make it,
they’ve carried us so far. It’s been demanding for us and I         I don’t want to be in the depths of despair; I don’t want to have
thought that by putting a fresh team out would give us a better     to pull myself out of a hole.’”
chance. We have been using the strength that we have in the            Spofforth is 24 but has had more than enough despair in
squad to be able to be here but we’ve lost many points during       her life already. She does not want to invite more in. In 2007
the whole season and you can’t just look at tonight. We’ve          her mother, Lesley, died of stomach cancer. In 2011 she lost
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                      guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                                       Wednesday May 9 2012                13:32 GMT

both her father’s girlfriend, June, and June’s daughter Vicky,          the prospect of swimming in the London Olympics began to
both to cancer. There have been times, Spofforth admits in her          feel very real. “It was just a day when I was like: ‘OK, so it is
autobiography, due to be published after the Olympics, when             the London Olympics.’ I had it in my mind and I had said it but
she contemplated committing suicide. “Is the concrete hard              actually feeling it was a different thing.” That was what got her
enough?” Spofforth writes in Dealing With It: Five Years of             through.
Mourning, Medals and Men. “I could jump right now. I could                 Two days after she qualified for the Olympic team Spofforth
escape. I would not have to deal with it, wouldn’t have to think,       discovered she had also got funding for a place on a Masters
wouldn’t have to worry.” That was when she was standing on              course in mental health counselling. “It was an amazing week
a hotel balcony, during a training camp on the Gold Coast in            for me. Everything just kind of set in place.” At long last.
Australia.
    Spofforth stepped back from the edge. For the past three
years she has been working as a volunteer on a suicide crisis           Liverpool exact final revenge thanks to
line in Florida, where she lives. To jump, she says, would have         Chelsea errors
made her a hypocrite. “Right after the death of my mum, I went
to a few classes. One of them was in psychology and one of my
                                                                        Andy Hunter at Anfield
friends who was sat next to me was like ‘You know, you’d be
good at this’. So I went through six weeks of intensive training        Chelsea [http://tinyurl.com/5ybu55] must win it to stay in it.
and I was on the lines at the end of those six weeks.” Soon             Champions League qualification was always a distant hope
afterwards she became an associate, which meant that she was            through the Premier League [http://tinyurl.com/6yneax] for
qualified to go out and try to talk people down off the ledge. “I       Roberto Di Matteo but, as though the club’s first European Cup
have seen a couple of dead bodies here and there, because the           was not incentive enough, there is no alternative now but to
families of a dead person need crisis counselling.                      beat Bayern Munich in their own backyard after the lowest
    “For me sitting in somebody else’s pain has become second           league finish of the Roman Abramovich era was confirmed at
nature. I know that sounds stupid but it is nice to know that in        Anfield.
somebody’s worst times I can be the person there so that they               A top-four finish was obliterated from the equation for
have a sound board and can let things out.” Spofforth’s work            Chelsea by a rampant Liverpool [http://tinyurl.com/42nq4e]
has taught her how to compartmentalise her emotions. “It is             team swaggering with a self-belief and adventure absent from
second nature to me to put things away and pretend they are             their FA Cup final display at Wembley three days previously.
not there.” So her training has helped her swimming [http://                Kenny Dalglish’s biggest league win of the season arrived
tinyurl.com/556nem]. But it also makes her hard to counsel. “I          too late to alter the complexion of the club’s season but, with
am quite a hypocrite when it comes to that because I don’t allow        Andy Carroll again a dominant force and an impressive home
people to listen to me. There’s one or two people who work              performance reflected in goals for a change, Liverpool signed off
with me on the lines, and they are really good but I call them          at Anfield with a flourish and a flicker of hope.
out on what they are doing, because obviously I have had the                Chelsea departed in the sure knowledge that several players
same training.”                                                         had ruined their prospects of starting at the Allianz Arena but
    As recently as last Christmas, seven months out from                with minds focused. Given the trials that preceded Di Matteo’s
a competition for which she has been preparing for seven                appointment as interim manager nine weeks ago, following the
years, she was thinking about quitting her sport. “Right from           dismissal of André Villas-Boas, win or bust at the Allianz Arena
the beginning of my career London 2012, or even before we               is an acceptable return.
got the bid, the 2012 Olympics was always my goal.”                         A repeat of this ramshackle defensive display on Saturday
    After the world championships in Shanghai last year, when           week, however, and the Kop’s taunt of “Bayern Munich, they’ll
Spofforth was ill and finished 17th, those doubts grew. Bad             win it five times” will ring true.
thoughts began to fester. “It was very real after Shanghai. There           The visitors arrived with their Premier League campaign
was a lot of times then when I just thought: ‘This is the end of        alive but the night was not without incentive for Liverpool,
my career. I can’t do another year.’ Over Christmas it was hard         however demoralised the club may have been by Saturday’s
because the pressure was insane.” The pressure, Spofforth               defeat and their performance against the same opponents in
explains, comes from the people around her. The problem with            the FA Cup final.
her compartmentalisation techniques, she says, is that she “can             Victory avoided equalling the lowest return of home
only be in control of myself, not everyone else”.                       wins in a top flight campaign at Anfield – the five of 1948-49
    “There’s so many people making comments like ‘after you             – maintained hope of finishing above Everton in the table and
win the gold’ and on and on and on, from my friends even.               restored some optimism ahead of Dalglish’s end-of-season
And it is just kind of like: ‘Stop saying that, if you say that, then   review with the club’s owners. Against another team Liverpool
I am going to go down this route.’ For me it is just too much           might have struggled to rouse itself but not against Chelsea and
pressure. When I go to the pool I can think about that kind of          not against a side containing Fernando Torres, back on Anfield
thing. When I come away from the pool and I am at home I don’t          soil for the first time since his acrimonious £50m exit 16 months
want to be thinking about what I have got to do at the pool.”           ago.
    Spofforth cannot pinpoint the exact moment when she                     The obligatory boos reverberated around Anfield every time
decided to carry on to the Games. “It may even have been when           the Spain international touched the ball. Torres must have been
I was on the plane back to America after Christmas. I had had a         tempted to join in, such was the paucity of the performance
week off and it was really hard being around family, who didn’t         around him and particularly of a visiting defence destroyed by
know what to say to me.” There was a moment, she says, when             the channelled aggression of Carroll and skill of Luis Suárez.
                                                                            Di Matteo made eight changes to the team that began at
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                                                          guardian.co.uk
Page  G24 Sport                                                   Wednesday May 9 2012   13:32 GMT

Wembley but the rotation policy that has served him so well
of late failed him here. Even so, he had every right to expect
more from John Terry, his captain, and Branislav Ivanovic in
central defence although, in mitigation to the established pair,
they were exposed frequently by those around them, including
Ross Turnbull in goal. Chelsea started strongly and should have
opened the scoring when Ivanovic planted a free header from
Florent Malouda’s corner against a post.
    But, unlike at the Cup final, Liverpool showed up from the
first whistle. Out of the ashes of their misery the Liverpool
manager had urged his players to find confidence in their
rousing finale at Wembley and they stunned Di Matteo’s
makeshift team with three goals in nine remarkable minutes.
From a Chelsea perspective all three were easily avoidable.
    Suárez engineered the first when he held off Oriol Romeu
down the right wing, nutmegged the Chelsea captain as he
entered the area and cut the ball back into Michael Essien who
diverted it into his own goal.
    A slip by Terry as he moved to collect a pass from Maxi
Rodríguez enabled Jordan Henderson to go through on goal
and beat Turnbull with a cool finish into the bottom corner and
then, with the Chelsea keeper AWOL at a Jonjo Shelvey corner,
Daniel Agger glanced Carroll’s header into the unguarded net.
    Torres’s duel with the recalled Jamie Carragher simmered
nicely and the Chelsea forward was denied another goal in front
of the Kop when his angled drive cannoned off the underside of
the crossbar. At the other, busier, end Carroll was thwarted by
Turnbull as he cut into the area and Stewart Downing struck the
bar with a delightful volley from Suárez’s knock-down.
    The moment for Downing to break his Premier League duck
for Liverpool arrived on the stroke of half-time when Ivanovic
conceded a ludicrous penalty for elbowing Carroll in the chest
as they awaited Henderson’s cross.
    Ivanovic was only booked but, from 12 yards and having
sent Turnbull the wrong way, Downing smacked his spot-kick
against the post and out. Liverpool’s seventh penalty miss of
the season set an unwanted club record and extended their
number of strikes against the woodwork to 46.
    Chelsea were being embarrassed and responded at the
start of the second half when Ramires unwittingly bundled
Malouda’s inviting free-kick beyond José Reina. But any
thoughts of a recovery ended when Turnbull scuffed a hopeless
clearance into the path of Shelvey and the Liverpool midfielder
drilled the return high into his unguarded net.




guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007                                       guardian.co.uk

				
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