2012 FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs Liverpool

Chelsea 2 - 1 Liverpool

  • Chelsea
    • Ramires 11'
    • (Low right-footed finish at the near post from six yards after a pacy dribble)
    • Drogba 52'
    • (Precise left-footed angled shot across the keeper from ten yards after neat ball control)
  • Liverpool
    • Carroll 64'
    • (Left-footed strike high into the roof of the net from six yards after clever skill)

Wembley Stadium, London, Saturday 5th May 2012, 17:15 GMT

Attendance: 89,102

Match Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Entertainment Rating: 3.5/5

Team Line-ups:

Chelsea (Blue Strip/White Socks)

  • GK 1Petr Cech
  • RB 17Jose Bosingwa
  • CB 2Branislav Ivanovic
  • CB 26John Terry (c)
  • LB 3Ashley Cole
  • CM 12John Obi Mikel
  • CM 8Frank Lampard
  • RM 7Ramires
  • AM 10Juan Mata
  • LW 21Salomon Kalou
  • CF 11Didier Drogba
  • Substitutes
  • GK 22Ross Turnbull
  • DF 19Paulo Ferreira
  • MF 5Michael Essien
  • MF 15Florent Malouda
  • MF 16Raul Meireles
  • FW 9Fernando Torres
  • FW 23Daniel Sturridge


Roberto Di Matteo

Liverpool (Red Strip)

  • 25 GKPepe Reina
  • 2 RBGlen Johnson
  • 37 CBMartin Skrtel
  • 5 CBDaniel Agger
  • 3 LBJose Enrique
  • 14 CMJordan Henderson
  • 20 CMJay Spearing
  • 39 RWCraig Bellamy
  • 8 AMSteven Gerrard (c)
  • 19 LWStewart Downing
  • 7 CFLuis Suarez
  • Substitutes
  • 32 GKDoni
  • 23 DFJamie Carragher
  • 34 DFMartin Kelly
  • 11 MFMaxi Rodriguez
  • 33 MFJonjo Shelvey
  • 9 FWAndy Carroll
  • 18 FWDirk Kuyt


Kenny Dalglish

Road to Wembley:

  • 4 – 0 vs Portsmouth (H)
  • 1 – 0 vs Queens Park Rangers (A)
  • 1 – 1 vs Birmingham City (H)
  • 2 – 0 vs Birmingham City (A)
  • 5 – 2 vs Leicester City (H)
  • 5 – 1 vs Tottenham Hotspur (Wembley)
  • 3rd Round
  • 4th Round
  • 5th Round
  • Replay
  • Q/Finals
  • S/Finals
  • 5 – 1 vs Oldham Athletic (H)
  • 2 – 1 vs Manchester United (H)
  • 6 – 1 vs Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
  • 2 – 1 vs Stoke City (H)
  • 2 – 1 vs Everton (W)

Match Highlights

Match Breakdown

There were a few changes to usual proceedings in the 2012 FA Cup Final as the match was given a 17:15 kick-off time much to the chagrin of English football fans (who generally opposed making amendments to the oldest football cup competition in the world). For the second year in a row it would also be played before the end of the domestic season as UEFA stipulated a whole four-week period of no competition before the start of the 2012 European Championships in Poland-Ukraine. The match was also the first FA Cup Final to be sponsored by an external corporation as Budweiser began a multi-million pound contract with the FA to have exclusive rights to be named in the title of the match. This perhaps reflected English football's new dependence on big companies to finance it's ever-expanding reach across the globe as an entertainment industry.

Rightfully turning the attention to the field of play though, the Final provided football fans with an encounter between two classic clubs who had won an impressive 13 FA Cups between them over the years. In recent times, Liverpool had become less threatening in the Premier League evidenced by their underwhelming league finish (considering their large spending budget) of 8th. Chelsea had also underachieved (finishing 6th) as owner Roman Abramovich continued with his trigger-happy policy of swapping managers by replacing Andre Villas-Boas with ex-player Roberto Di Matteo just a couple of months prior. With a place in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final only a fortnight away however, Chelsea had their eyes on a grandstand finish to their season whereas Liverpool were looking to add to their League Cup victory against Cardiff City earlier in the year.

Both clubs fielded strong teams full of international talent and big-money signings but it was the benches that provided the main talking point for pundits pre-match. Fernando Torres had been the star striker for the Kenny Dalglish's Merseyside club between 2007 and 2011 before making a high-profile £50m transfer to Chelsea that thus far had been unsuccessful, hence his substitute status. On the same day as that transfer in January 2011, Liverpool spent £35m on Newcastle's Andy Carroll to the shock of many football experts who could not understand the value or sense in the purchase. Also struggling to find regular goalscoring form, Carroll was benched (despite scoring the vital winning goal in Liverpool's semi-final victory over local rivals Everton).

Chelsea began the match on the front foot and their highly energetic style of pressing (encouraged under new boss Di Matteo) was putting pressure onto the men in red from the very start. This strong display of confidence yielded an advantage in the 11th minute as young Jay Spearing nervously gave the ball away in midfield straight to Juan Mata. The Spaniard played a purposeful pass to Ramires on the right side of the pitch who strided forward with the ball and brushed off a weak Enrique challenge before shooting past Reina at his near post. It looked as though the Liverpool goalkeeper expected a shot across goal as Ramires wheeled off to celebrate his goal with his dancing team-mates.

Liverpool's response was admirable as they ironically started to relax after going one nil down. Their best chance of the first half occurred when Glen Johnson weaved a route down the right wing and crossed a good ball into the box. From the resulting Chelsea clearance, Craig Bellamy struck a stinging goal-bound volley with this right foot only for Branislav Ivanovic to alertly stick his leg in the way and clear the ball away from danger. It was obvious though that the two inexperienced central midfielders of Spearing and Henderson for Liverpool were struggling to get to grips with Chelsea's far superior pairing of Lampard and Mikel.

Kenny Dalglish persisted with his chosen eleven into the second half but he was made to pay for his reluctance to make a substitution as Drogba doubled The Blues' lead in the 52nd minute. Lampard breezed past the hapless Spearing with a clever side-step and passed the ball into the Ivorian's feet on the edge of the penalty area. Drogba showed skilful close control of the ball before firing a low left-footed shot through the legs of Skrtel and into the bottom-right corner of Reina's net. It was a history making goal for the African talisman as he become the first player to score in four FA Cup Finals.

Liverpool instantly made a substitution by replacing Spearing with their £35m striker Andy Carroll in an attempt to get back into the match. The tall towering presence of Carroll immediately caused problems for the Chelsea defence and he gave the Scouse fans plenty of hope as he showed some nifty footwork in the 64th minute to escape John Terry and score high into the roof of Cech's net from a few yards out. The goal provided Liverpool with an injection of optimism and all of a sudden they started to positively outplay Chelsea and created some great chances to equalise as Cech kept out Suarez with a great diving save.

The Czech goalkeeper then made an outstanding save from a powerful Carroll header by palming the ball onto the crossbar and down onto the goal-line before being cleared. Video replays showed that the whole ball did not cross the line, justifying the assistant referee's excellent decision to let play continue. It proved to be the final act in a thrilling last 20 minutes where Liverpool gave every last ounce of effort to force the match into extra-time. Ultimately though, the Chelsea rearguard stayed resolute as they won their fourth FA Cup in six seasons to cement their place as the most successful cup team in the current era.