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Jamie Carragher’s Chelsea taunts over Fernando Torres show how fierce the Liverpool rivalry was

The touchpaper of the rivalry between Chelsea and Liverpool has been relit.

At a time when the football calendar has been decimated by coronavirus, a discussion between a former Blues legend and an ex-Reds legend has reminded fans of a modern-day feud.

Jamie Carragher revealed Liverpool players knew they had got one over Premier League rivals Chelsea by selling former Spain striker Fernando Torres to them for a whopping £50million in 2011. 

The touchpaper of the rivalry between Premier League's Chelsea and Liverpool has been relit

The touchpaper of the rivalry between Premier League's Chelsea and Liverpool has been relit

The touchpaper of the rivalry between Premier League’s Chelsea and Liverpool has been relit

Fernando Torres (right) cost Chelsea a mammoth £50million when he signed from Liverpool

Fernando Torres (right) cost Chelsea a mammoth £50million when he signed from Liverpool

Fernando Torres (right) cost Chelsea a mammoth £50million when he signed from Liverpool

He was a deadly goalscorer at Liverpool but never recaptured that form at Stamford Bridge

Jamie Carragher says Liverpool players knew they had 'kidded' Chelsea with the £50m fee

Jamie Carragher says Liverpool players knew they had 'kidded' Chelsea with the £50m fee

Jamie Carragher says Liverpool players knew they had ‘kidded’ Chelsea with the £50m fee

‘I couldn’t believe it,’ he told Sky Sports, on a call with Chelsea legend John Terry. ‘I knew we had kidded Chelsea. Those last 12 months, he was a shadow of his former self.’

The transfer of Torres from Merseyside to the south west London club was just the peak of the bitter rivalry between the two clubs.

The rivalry brewed with two main protagonists at the helm – Jose Mourinho in the blue corner and Rafa Benitez in the red corner.

‘In those games he [Mourinho] definitely showed you a little bit more respect,’ Terry told Sky Sports. ‘I think that’s a credit to Liverpool and the team you had. Even in the league I thought you were better than what you achieved year in, year out.

‘Him and Rafa had that rivalry, didn’t they. They hated each other, really! But he didn’t do it because of Rafa, I think it was out of respect for the team you had.’

Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge as ‘The Special One’ and with a proven track record after lifting the Champions League with Porto the previous season. A couple of weeks later Benitez, also with trophies under his belt, took charge at Anfield.

Their sides met in the first piece of silverware up of grabs that season – the 2005 Carling Cup final – and so began one of football’s modern rivalries. 

Steven Gerrard’s late own-goal in extra time cued a smug celebration from Mourinho in front of the Liverpool supporters. The Portuguese strolled down the touchline and put his finger to his mouth to shush them. 

The transfer of Torres was just the peak of the bitter modern rivalry between the two clubs

The transfer of Torres was just the peak of the bitter modern rivalry between the two clubs

The transfer of Torres was just the peak of the bitter modern rivalry between the two clubs

Jose Mourinho was one of the main protagonists - he shushed Liverpool fans in 2005

Jose Mourinho was one of the main protagonists - he shushed Liverpool fans in 2005

Jose Mourinho was one of the main protagonists – he shushed Liverpool fans in 2005

Garcia's 'ghost goal' caused hysteria among Chelsea's camp in Champions League semi-final

Garcia's 'ghost goal' caused hysteria among Chelsea's camp in Champions League semi-final

Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ caused hysteria among Chelsea’s camp in Champions League semi-final

Just a few months later it was Mourinho who was left seething as Luis Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ gave Liverpool victory in their Champions League semi-final.

After a goalless first leg at Stamford Bridge, controversy reigned as Garcia scored the only goal of the game on four minutes to send Liverpool into the final in Istanbul.

Garcia’s ‘ghost goal’ caused hysteria among Chelsea’s camp as the ball did not appear to cross the line before being hacked away by William Gallas – but it was the Reds who went on to win their fifth European Cup after a penalty shootout victory over AC Milan in the final.

To this day Mourinho does not appear over the incident. He believes the Anfield ‘crowd scored’ it. 

‘They can even score goals that the players don’t score, like it happened in 2005,’ he told BeIn Sports.

Manager Rafa Benitez came up against Chelsea many times and went on to manage the Blues

Manager Rafa Benitez came up against Chelsea many times and went on to manage the Blues

Manager Rafa Benitez came up against Chelsea many times and went on to manage the Blues 

Liverpool v Chelsea became the rivalry of the age, the successor to Manchester United v Arsenal. They met 16 times in just three seasons.

In three semi-final meetings in both Europe and the FA Cup, Liverpool won each time. In 2007, Benitez commented on his soured relationship with Mourinho: ‘We were good friends until we started winning, then he started changing his mind.’

After so much animosity between the two clubs, would a player swap from one club to another? 

Gerrard could not be lured away by Mourinho – he attempted to pull the former Liverpool skipper away to the Blues – but Torres made the remarkable switch from north to south.

Liverpool sold Torres to their rivals for £50m in the winter transfer window of 2011 – a move that was met with derision from some of the Reds faithful.

Torres switched to Stamford Bridge in a £50m move that upset Liverpool supporters

Torres switched to Stamford Bridge in a £50m move that upset Liverpool supporters

Torres switched to Stamford Bridge in a £50m move that upset Liverpool supporters

He was a deadly goalscorer at Liverpool but never recaptured that form at Stamford Bridge

He was a deadly goalscorer at Liverpool but never recaptured that form at Stamford Bridge

He was a deadly goalscorer at Liverpool but never recaptured that form at Stamford Bridge

Torres' replacement Luis Suarez (right) played his part in the feud as he was charged with violent conduct after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic (left)

Torres' replacement Luis Suarez (right) played his part in the feud as he was charged with violent conduct after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic (left)

Torres’ replacement Luis Suarez (right) played his part in the feud as he was charged with violent conduct after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic (left)

The Premier League giants weren’t accustomed to selling their best players to anyone, let alone a fierce rival.

Torres was in imperious form prior to move and, arguably, the best striker around at the time. The sale only intensified the rivalry between the two clubs.

The striker’s form plummeted at the Blues – much to the delight of Liverpool fans – and the move is widely regarded as one of the biggest flops in the Premier League. 

Carragher admitting that Reds players were ‘shocked’ their club managed to sell Torres to Chelsea for such a huge fee has only added more fuel to the fire.

A couple of years later Torres’ replacement in attack Luis Suarez played his part too.

The Uruguay international was charged with violent conduct after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in their at Anfield in 2013. Tensions increased. Benitez was manager of the Blues at the time.

Tensions increased between two clubs when Chelsea halted Liverpool's title charge in 2014

Tensions increased between two clubs when Chelsea halted Liverpool's title charge in 2014

Tensions increased between two clubs when Chelsea halted Liverpool’s title charge in 2014

But it was a year later at the same venue that has played a key role in defining this modern era rivalry.

Mourinho, in his second spell at Chelsea, showed just how much it meant to beat Liverpool with his celebrations.

Under Brendan Rodgers Liverpool were closing in on a first league title in 24 years after an incredible 11-game winning streak with a six-point lead at the top and three games to go. 

He bellowed and thumped his chest as he ran towards the Chelsea fans in the corner, celebrating his side’s second goal in a 2-0 win. The wheels fell off for Liverpool, as Manchester City beat them to the league title.

Liverpool still have Chelsea left to play should the 2019-20 Premier League season recommence.

Carragher’s latest installment was just another remarkable point of tension of an increasing rivalry between the two clubs.

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