By Julian Bennetts
Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool
The FA Cup with Budweiser
5.15pm, Saturday 5 May 2012
Live on ITV1 and ESPN
Winning club receives £1.8m and runners-up £950,000 from The FA's prize fund
Occasionally there are moments that remind you that football is not, as a famous Liverpool manager once said, more than a matter of life and death.
At Wembley on Saturday that moment came at 5.08pm, as the big screens around Wembley showed the beaming face of Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton midfielder who suffered a heart attack on the field at White Hart Lane less than two months ago.
It was a moment to unite fans of all tribes, and the applause from both the red and blue halves of this cavernous arena was prolonged and sustained.
Then, of course, came the football, as two of the most successful sides in FA Cup history set about demonstrating exactly why they have such proud records in the world's oldest cup competition.
Liverpool were aiming for their eighth win in the competition; Chelsea their seventh. Eventually, it was the latter who broke new ground after a final that sprung into life in the second-half, winning The FA Cup for the fourth time in six years.
And it was a day for records to be broken. For Ashley Cole, a unique achievement – a seventh winners medal. For Roberto Di Matteo, a third but this time as a manager, rather than a player.
For Didier Drogba, a brutal demonstration of why he, perhaps more than any other player, has made the new Wembley his home from home. At Wembley, the Ivorian is unstoppable. Eight goals in eight competitive games here after his low second-half drive, and he is now the first player ever to have scored in four FA Cup Finals.
Put simply, he was too good for Liverpool, as were his team-mates. Liverpool's fans were vocal in their support for their side but after Drogba doubled the lead given to Chelsea by Ramires' early effort it appeared game over.
Yet this is The FA Cup, and this is Liverpool FC we are talking about here. Remember Cardiff in 2006, against West Ham? This is a team that simply do not know when they are beaten. Andy Carroll's wonderfully taken effort reduced the arrears; the fans clad in red began to believe again.
This was becoming The Final every neutral hoped it would be, and the drama reached fever pitch eight minutes from time as Carroll rose at the back post to seemingly head home.
He was denied by Petr Cech's miraculous save, one up there with Jim Montgomery's from 1973, was good enough to win any game. While strikers can take the majority of the plaudits, this was truly a moment for the goalkeeper's union to savour.
And that was just about that. This was a Cup Final that enthralled, and where the individual genius of Cech and Drogba held sway. For all the right reasons, this was a game to remember.
Chelsea: 1 Petr Cech, 2 Branislav Ivanovic, 3 Ashley Cole, 7 Ramires (16 Raul Meireles, 77), 8 Frank Lampard, 10 Juan Mata (15 Florent Malouda, 90), 11 Didier Drogba, 12 John Obi Mikel, 17 Jose Bosingwa, 21 Salomon Kalou, 26 John Terry (c ).
Substitutes not used: 22 Ross Turnbull, 5 Michael Essien, 9 Fernando Torres, 19 Paulo Ferreira, 23 Daniel Sturridge.
Manager: Roberto Di Matteo
Liverpool: 25 Pepe Reina, 2 Glen Johnson, 3 Jose Enrique, 5 Daniel Agger, 7 Luis Suarez, 8 Steven Gerrard (c), 14 Jordan Henderson, 19 Stewart Downing, 20 Jay Spearing (9 Andy Carroll, 55), 37 Martin Skrtel, 39 Craig Bellamy (18 Dirk Kuyt, 79).
Substitutes not used: 11 Maxi Rodriguez, 23 Jamie Carragher, 32 Alexander Doni, 33 Jonjo Shelvey, 34 Martin Kelly.
Manager: Kenny Dalglish
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt & Andrew Garratt.
Fourth Official: Michael Jones
Chelsea can celebrate another FA Cup success after beating Liverpool.