The rivalry between Chelsea and Liverpool is in football terms a recent development, dating back to the 2004-05 Champions League. An exceptionally caustic hatred was born between the two clubs, concentrated on an ongoing enmity between Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho. Many other rivalries in English football are built on foundations of history and tradition. With Chelsea and Liverpool, there is only hate.
It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when Chelsea v Liverpool was just another date on the fixture list. This week, we travel back to this much simpler time— August 31st, 1935.
You’ll want to skip to about 0:44 in the video, unless you want to see clips of Sheffield Wednesday v Aston Villa. (In fairness, that game was a cracker.)
Probably the best part about the footage is the retro feel at Stamford Bridge. The stands were uncovered, and so wide shots highlight the sea of humanity watching the Blues make their first home stand of the campaign. There’s also the huge billboards advertizing long-departed brands like Reid’s Stout. Like past editions of Throwback Thursday, these all-too-brief glimpses of old footage give a sort of visual history of English football.
The game itself was a pretty rousing affair. Liverpool winger Berry Nieuwenhuys put the Reds up 2-0 early, but Chelsea center forward Joseph Bambrick helped the home side rally with a brace of his own. The game ended at a 2-2 draw, a fair result and a solid start to the campaign.
Chelsea would end up winning the reverse fixture 2-3 at Anfield. The Blues would go on to finish the season in 8th place, while Liverpool’s dismal campaign left them in 19th at the end of the campaign, just three points above the relegation zone. And, in another indication of how much English football has changed since then, the Top 4 at the end of the season had Stoke City in 4th, Huddersfield Town in 3rd, Derby County in 2nd, and the First Division title winners Sunderland in 1st.
Apart from tribal enmity and #banter, there’s a lot on the line when Chelsea hosts Liverpool early on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp will be looking for his first Premier League win, while Jose Mourinho, depending on who you ask, may be out of a job if he can’t get a victory at Stamford Bridge. Find out how it all goes down this Saturday morning, with kickoff set for 8:45am EST on NBC Sports Network.