Chelsea's first XI in the Roman Abramovich-era v Liverpool in 2003

Chelsea fans have a lot to thank Roman Abramovich for.

When the Russian Billionaire joined the club in 2003, the west London outfit had one one league title to their name, when they won the title in the 1954/1955 season.

However, Chelsea’s fortunes have transformed ever since.

Aided by his superior spending power, Chelsea won the league just two years after Abramovich arrived.

The west Londoners would go on to win four more league titles after, taking their overall tally to six, whilst also winning a plethora of other trophies, including the Champions League in 2012.


Chelsea travel to Liverpool on Saturday in a crucial match in the running for the Premier League title.

With both teams lagging behind Manchester City at the top of the table, it can be considered a must win game for both sides as they look to keep up with the extraordinary pace set by Pep Guardiola’s side.

Incidentally, Abramovich’s first competitive match as Chelsea owner was in this same fixture, just over 14 years ago.

Chelsea had spent big in the summer of 2003, and had compiled a vastly different side to the year before.

And the Russian’s spending brought about immediate success as his side prevailed 2-1 at Anfield, thanks to goals from Juan Sebastian Veron and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.


GK: Carlo Cudicini 
The Italian’s ten year spell at Chelsea came to an end in 2009, before retiring from professional football in 2014. He is now a club ambassador and assistant to Antonio Conte.

LB: Wayne Bridge
Bridge is probably best known for his much publicised bust-up with John Terry, but he was a good player during his career. After retiring in 2014, he appeared in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in 2016.

CB: Marcel Dessailly
The Frenchman was in the latter stages of his career in 2003, retiring two years later in 2005. He has done media work since retiring, including working for ITV Sport at the 2010 World Cup.

CB: John Terry
One of three members of the team that is still playing. The Chelsea academy graduate finally left the club in the summer, where he joined Aston Villa.

RB: Glen Johnson
Another of the team that is still playing. Johnson only racked up 71 appearances for Chelsea in five years at the club, before leaving for Portsmouth on a permanent deal in 2007. Now 33-year-old, he is still playing Premier League football at Stoke.

CM: Geremi
The Cameroonian spent four seasons at Chelsea, before leaving in 2007. After his career at Chelsea he enjoyed spells at Newcastle, Ankaragücü in Turkey and AEL in Greece, where he retired in 2011.

CM: Frank Lampard
Lampard enjoyed 13 successful seasons at Chelsea, where he scored an incredible 211 goals from midfield. After leaving Chelsea in 2014, he then enjoyed spells at New York City and Manchester City, before retiring last year.

CM: Juan Sebastian Veron
Veron made the move from Manchester United to Chelsea that summer, but he flopped massively as he could only muster seven Premier League appearances. He announced his first retirement in 2013, but has since come out of retirement to play for Estudiantes. He is also the Chairman at the club.

LW: Damien Duff
After joining in 2003, the Irishman spent three years at the club, before departing for Newcastle. He retired in 2015 whilst at Shamrock Rovers. Since hanging up his boots he has done media work, including for RTÉ Sport during Euro 2016.

RW: Jesper Gronkjaer
The Danish winger played for four seasons at Chelsea, before having spells at Birmingham, Atletico Madrid, Stuttgart and FC Copenhagen.

ST: Eidur Gudjohnsen
The Iceland forward joined Chelsea in 2000, and spent six years at the club. After leaving in 2006, he played for a host of big clubs, including Monaco and Barcelona. He only retired from professional football a few months ago, a week before his 39th birthday.

Watch highlights of Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in 2003 here:

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