Liverpool participated in the 2006 FA Community Shield against 2005-06 Premier League champions Chelsea, having won the 2006 FA Cup Final. Hosted at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, Liverpool won the match 2-1 to claim their 15th Shield, and 10th as outright winners. Goals from John Arne Riise and Peter Crouch sealed the victory for Liverpool.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez controversially chose to rest key players, such as captain Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso for the match, as Liverpool's season had already begun with a Champions League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa. Chelsea too were without a number of their key players through injury. This was the 11th meeting between the two sides over the past two years, and understandably the rivalry between the two had developed considerably as a result.
In a manner reminiscent of the 2005 League Cup Final, Liverpool got off to a flying start as left back John Arne Riise collected a Chelsea corner in the ninth minute that had been headed away by Steve Finnan, and then embarked on a solo run of 60 yards before firing a long range shot past Chelsea 'keeper Carlo Cudicini. Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard was then lucky to avoid a sending off as he kicked Boudewijn Zenden from behind in frustration, the Blues man being shown a yellow by referee Martin Atkinson instead. Chelsea new boy Michael Ballack was also booked for a poor challenge, this time on Momo Sissoko, but was himself forced off due to a hip injury soon after.
As half time loomed, Liverpool should have doubled their advantage as Mark Gonzalez slid a low cross across the Chelsea box, however Luis Garcia and Peter Crouch got in each other's way, preventing Garcia from gaining a clean hit of the ball and enabling Cudicini to produce a good save to keep the ball out. Just two minutes later, Chelsea equalised through their new signing Andriy Shevchenko, who broke clear of the Liverpool backline running onto a Frank Lampard pass and slotting the ball bast Pepe Reina. As the second half got under way, Shevchenko almost put Chelsea ahead but was denied by good a Pepe Reina save. Reina also saved well from Didier Drogba as Chelsea took the game to Liverpool. Benitez responded to the pressure by bringing on Gerrard and Alonso for Zenden and Pennant, and shortly after, new £6,000,000 signing Craig Bellamy for Garcia. Within a minute of coming on, Alonso was booked for a poor challenge on Chelsea's Michael Essien who was perhaps fortunate to escape an ankle injury as the influx of substitutes disrupted the flow of the game.
Ultimately however, as the game appeared as though it may head to extra time and penalties, it was the introduction of Craig Bellamy that decided the match, as in the 80th minute his pace saw him break free on the left flank and then deliver a cross for Crouch to head what would prove to be the winner. Fabio Aurelio, who had come on in the 55th minute for Gonzalez, almost added a third but was denied by a good Cudicini save.
For an impressive display in the centre of the park, Liverpool defensive midfielder Momo Sissoko was awarded the man of the match award.
As many Liverpool fans hoped Liverpool might become Chelsea's biggest rivals for the Premier League title in the 2006-07 season, match-winner Peter Crouch said "there is a bit of rivalry between the sides and it is great to get an early one over them. Make no bones about it, this is a big game to win and it certainly could give us a psychological edge this season." Manager Rafael Benitez added "this will give us a lot of confidence I am sure. To play one of the best sides in the world and to beat them, this should give us more confidence going into what will be an interesting season."
|13 August 2006||Liverpool||2-1||Chelsea||Millenium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Riise (9), Crouch (79)||Shevchenko (44)|
- 25. Pepe Reina
- 3. Steve Finnan
- 23. Jamie Carragher
- 5. Daniel Agger
- 6. John Arne Riise
- 22. Momo Sissoko
- 11. Mark Gonzalez 56'
- 16. Jermaine Pennant 60'
- 32. Boudewijn Zenden 60'
- 10. Luis Garcia 66'
- 15. Peter Crouch 89'
- 1. Jerzy Dudek
- 12. Fabio Aurelio 56'
- 4. Sami Hyypia
- 8. Steven Gerrard 60'
- 14. Xabi Alonso 60'
- 24. Florent Sinama-Pongolle 89'
- 17. Craig Bellamy 66'
The 2006 Community Shield is the most recent piece of silverware won by Liverpool. It was also the last trophy won by manager Rafael Benitez during his tenure at Anfield.
John Arne Riise's goal
Peter Crouch's goal
|Liverpool F.C. finals|
FA Cup: 1914 • 1950 • 1965 • 1971 • 1974 • 1977 • 1986 • 1988 • 1989 • 1992 • 1996 • 2001 • 2006 • 2012
European Cup Winners Cup: 1966
Charity/Community Shield:1922 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1971 • 1974 • 1976 • 1977 • 1979 • 1980 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1986 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1992 • 2001 • 2002 • 2006