Colchester United of League One await in the FA Cup fifth round on 19 February, a novel way for the Premiership champions to prepare for the visit of Barcelona in the Champions' League three days later. Play like they did last night and Chelsea will not need to fear either lower-league Essex men or the pride of Catalonia. Their assistant manager Steve Clarke said afterwards that his club do not get the recognition their achievements deserve - last night was a performance with scarcely a blemish.
Robben scored the first on 22 minutes, a beautiful piece of work that saw Hernan Crespo guide Eidur Gudjohnsen's long ball into the path of the Dutch winger. Robben was substituted after the hour and hugged by his manager before he departed down the tunnel, but even the Dutchman at his marauding best was eclipsed by Wright-Phillips who made his first start since 7 January and played his first-ever 90 minutes in a Chelsea shirt.
In his programme notes Mourinho claimed the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, had attempted to cover up his team's defeat by criticising Chelsea. Mourinho raged against the English press - "not in love with us" - and Sky television, but he stopped short of a direct defence of Robben, who went down after being pushed by the Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina, who was sent off. Instead, Mourinho pointed out that Liverpool had not complained when Luis Garcia scored the winning goal in the second leg of the Champions' League semi-final at Anfield in May - which was later shown not to have crossed the line.
"Liverpool question the moral actions of our player," Mourinho said. "But I do not remember them questioning anyone last May when the ball did not cross the line and the players of the attacking team were running to the officials putting pressure on them to give a goal. Maybe we are living in two different worlds. But that's life and we have to live with it. The better we are, the more difficult it is."
He gave ironic praise to Benitez for what the Chelsea manager saw as diversionary tactics after a defeat that effectively ended Liverpool's slim title hopes. "Great managers are intelligent," Mourinho wrote. "So after the game when they were well beaten by us he ... speaks about Reina, and talks the details out of the great game Chelsea have played."
Reina may have considered himself unlucky, but he was certainly no worse off than last night's visiting goalkeeper Richard Wright, who injured himself in the warm-up and was replaced by the 21-year-old debutant Iain Turner. Wright had ignored a sign in the goalmouth asking him to practise in a temporary goal and, having moved it back, caught his ankle on it when he jumped for a cross.
For a player who once lost his place in the Everton team after injuring himself falling out of his loft, it was a cruel blow but, having watched his replacement concede three goals by half-time, he may have felt that he had a lucky escape.
Wright-Phillips tormented Everton's left-back Nuno Valente and he had dribbled past three defenders before the Portuguese international made a poorly timed challenge on the winger on 36 minutes. From the penalty spot Frank Lampard scored Chelsea's second before Everton's defence was motionless in the 39th minute when Lampard's cross was edged home by the gentlest of touches from Crespo's head.
James Beattie made an appalling mess of the away side's best first half chance on 40 minutes when he was slow to trap a ball four yards out and hoofed his shot far over the bar.
Everton claimed a goal back when Robert Huth handled substitute James McFadden's shot and Mikel Arteta slipped in the penalty on 71 minutes. The German international played a part in Chelsea's fourth when he rammed an artless free-kick into the Everton wall and the rebound fell to John Terry who volleyed home from inside the area.
Clarke gave a feisty defence of his club's reputation, complaining Reina's original bad tackle on Gudjohnsen was "not even mentioned. We gave another high-level performance on Sunday and we didn't get the credit," he said. "There wasn't a lot talked about the football or that we had beaten one of top rivals." Today should at least be different.
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cudicini; Johnson, Huth, Terry, Gallas; Essien; Wright-Phillips, Gudjohnsen, Lampard (Geremi, 79), Robben (Cole, 63); Crespo (Maniche, h-t). Substitutes not used: Cech (gk), Del Horno.
Everton (4-4-1-1) Turner; Hibbert, Weir, Ferrari, Valente (Davies, h-t); Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Kilbane; Osman (Carsley, 83); Beattie (McFadden, h-t).Substitute not used: Naysmith.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).Reuse content