As former Chelsea players go, Frank Lampard isn’t the worst bloke in the world – although he did once break Xabi Alonso’s ankle, which we’ll never forgive him for!
While not on Steven Gerrard’s level, Lampard was a brilliant goalscoring midfielder, and Liverpool fans who suggest he’s overrated or lucky are just wrong.
But there was a time when Rafa Benitez was in charge that we truly despised him, as well as his manager Jose Mourinho and team-mates like John Terry and Didier Drogba among others.
Chelsea and Liverpool seemed to ply each other in Europe every year, as well as multiple cup competitions. To be fair, while they bettered us in the league, we beat them in two Champions League semi-finals in 2005 and 2007.
Lampard has told Jamie Carragher that he believes Chelsea were the better team (probably fair), but that our fans levelled the playing fields.
When you hear comments like this, you can completely understand why Jurgen Klopp is so desperate to get Anfield manic and noisy again…
Here’s the full extract on Liverpool/Chelsea from the Daily Mail:
CARRAGHER: So Chelsea-Liverpool: why was there such a rivalry and is it still there now?
LAMPARD: It started in our era, when we played each other so regularly. It seemed as if it was six or seven times a year. Chelsea’s traditional rival, outside London, was Leeds. Then we started playing you regularly and it grew from nowhere. For five or six years it was so intense.
CARRAGHER: Take us into your dressing room. I’ll be honest. I couldn’t stand you as a club. It surpassed Everton and Manchester United as our rivalry for a period…
LAMPARD: There’s no doubt — and I know you’ll agree with me — we were a better team! What made the rivalry grow even more was your fans. They made it level. I don’t like giving Liverpool credit but they gave you an extra man. But the basic rivalry was you and Stevie (Gerrard) and me and John (Terry).
CARRAGHER: Who is the better pair out of those two then?
LAMPARD: Probably me and Stevie! People still love asking me, “What’s Stevie like? Do you get on?” It wasn’t that we didn’t get on. But you knew the line. You’d have dinner when we were all together at England but you knew it was all business.
CARRAGHER: I know. You’d go to lunch, have a good chat and then you go back to your room and say, “I can’t stand him!”
LAMPARD: It wasn’t that we had fallen out. We’d been in the Under 21s, we’d been room-mates. When you start playing against each other, you dislike each other because of the rivalry. But isn’t that what made us players? We wanted to win.
CARRAGHER: Chelsea nearly signing Stevie was massive for the rivalry. So were the fans, Jose coming in and the League Cup final in Cardiff in February 2005. I remember talking to you as we came off the pitch at half-time. Six months later you wouldn’t have dreamt of doing that.
LAMPARD: When Jose came in and Abramovich took over, we became the money team and people disliked us. There is a natural divide from Liverpool — a working-man’s club that’s had a lot of success off the back of tradition.
We were the new kids on the block who had a few quid and signed a load of players. Jose puffed his chest out and then we kept playing each other. It was a clash of two ideals.
CARRAGHER: The games were probably a hard watch really. But to play in them? The intensity… I don’t know about you but it felt if you made one mistake, you would lose.
LAMPARD: The pressure was huge. We could never play out from the back at Anfield. Never. You would hem us in. You’d look at Dirk Kuyt during the season and think, “He’s not a great player”. But when he played us, he would press Ashley Cole down to the corner flag. You couldn’t get out. You knew that if you went 1-0 down, you were struggling. It was a game like no other, such a knife edge. Then there was the fear of losing.
CARRAGHER: Exactly! Sometimes you felt happier they hadn’t won. We played three semi-finals in three years and it was brilliant to win but at the same time you think, “I’m glad they haven’t won”. You can’t help it…
LAMPARD: I hated losing the second semi-final (in the Champions League in 2007) on penalties just as much as when Kuyt scored the winner. The (Luis) Garcia goal, I don’t have too many hang ups on. Whether it was a goal or not, I don’t really care. Liverpool deserved to win that game by rights. You got a [0-0] draw at our place and played very well at Anfield.