Rafael Benitez was announced as the interim Chelsea manager this evening after the shock sacking of Roberto Di Matteo.
Whilst not necessarily historic rivals, Chelsea and Liverpool have clashed several times over recent years and there is a great amount of hatred between the two clubs. Liverpool fans view themselves as supporters of a club with “history”, thanks to their eighteen league titles and five European Cups. In contrast, whilst Chelsea have only started winning trophies on a regular basis over the past couple of decades, they have created much jealousy amongst Liverpool fans who haven’t won the league since 1990.
The bad feeling between the two clubs was heightened by their regular meetings in the Champions League, with them playing against each other in 04/05, 05/06, 06/07, 07/08 and 08/09, when Liverpool stopped being able to qualify for the competition.
However, it appears as though it is not just the fans that dislike each other, but the Liverpool manager got swept away with it too. Ahead of one of those Champions League meetings in 2007, Benitez expressed his opinion on Chelsea supporters.
“We don’t need to give away stupid plastic flags to our fans to wave, our supporters are always there with their hearts and that is all we need. Its the passion of the fans that helps us to win matches, not flags. Chelsea fans lack passion.”
This quotation is still proudly displayed on the walls of Melwood, Liverpool’s training ground, showing the scorn Benitez felt towards the fans of the club he is now the manager of. There’s no love lost from the fans’ point of view either, who reacted angrily to Benitez being linked to the club when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked earlier this year.
Benitez will be unveiled in front of the home crowd ahead of their match against Manchester City, most likely to a chorus of boos and jeers. Roll on Sunday!