Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea - Woeful half costs us as Torres makes us pay!
Well let's be honest here, we never expected that yesterday well before the game. I had asked the question of Liverpool in my match pr...
Well let's be honest here, we never expected that yesterday well before the game. I had asked the question of Liverpool in my match preview whether or not Liverpool could live with Chelsea and yesterday they answered the question emphatically. Based on how both sides came into the game, their form and the weakness in their side I could only see a Chelsea win and predicted by three goals. To their credit they more than deserved their win as Chelsea never turned up in the first half and with a World Class striker in Fernando Torres up front, he proved once more against Chelsea the difference twice!.
Like I said I was confident about a result at Anfield yesterday morning, felt good about our chances and couldn't see anyway that Liverpool's weakened back four would be able to deal with our front three. Then we hear the team news, Essien is out and Drogba is on the bench because of a fever overnight. Instantly I thought "On no" but then after looking at the situation with Malouda restored to the starting eleven, Kalou out wide the other side and Anelka down the middle, I still believed we would pose Liverpool more of a threat than they would.
Just eleven minutes into the game that all changed. Dirk Kuyt who is a pain in the arse but credit where credit is due, always plays well against us, picked up the ball wide left and had time and space to play a diagonal ball over the top and between JT and Cole and Torres was onto it. His first touch was fantastic as he controlled the ball coming over his shoulder and under pressure managed to scuff the ball over Cech (who I thought in this instance went down too early and should have stood up more) and into the bottom corner. 1-0 Liverpool.
You just knew it with Torres. He may not have been playing well and may have lost some of his form but class is permanent you have to hold your hands up and say he took it well under pressure from JT, Cole and Cech.
Of course at the time it was a blow, so you are looking for Chelsea to get hold of the ball and create something. Liverpool were more than happy to let Chelsea's back four knock the ball around from side to side and Chelsea were dominating possession without creating anything.
With Zhirkov, Malouda and Ashley Cole down our left hand side up against Meireles and the youngster Kelly you would have expected Chelsea to pose much more of a threat down that side, but again to their credit Liverpool's defensive shape closed the door time and time again and we found ourselves passing the ball square or backwards much more than going forward.
Mikel was playing really really well but at times was doing it on his own in the middle. Ramires and Zhirkov were getting exposed and found out as Liverpool closed them down with the ball at their feet time and time again. Chelsea were also losing the ball far to often and as the first half went on you couldn't see Chelsea creating anything.
Up front, Kalou was trying to be busy and Anelka was looking exposed as we just couldn't get the ball into him enough. Liverpool were looking comfortable. When he did create a half chance, Kalou headed the ball straight to Reina.
As I was becoming more and more frustrated with Chelsea with giving the ball away or giving away needless stupid tackles in our half I was hoping we would see it through to half time. Liverpool had other ideas.
Sitting on the back foot for most of the first half in their impressive defensive shape and sitting on their 1-0 lead, Liverpool looked for any chance they could to break on Chelsea. They did exactly that and scored their second.
A mix up from Chelsea mid-way inside our own half and Ashley Cole loses the ball. Meireles picks it up and finds Torres who has dropped off his marker wide left in what used to be Henry's favourite position. He isn't closed down quick enough and takes a touch inside and from 20 yards curls a sweet shot into the far corner between Alex and Terry, Cech has no chance and the ball nestles into the corner. 2-0 Liverpool and two for Torres. Half time and Chelsea need to makes changes badly.
Drogba came on for Kalou and Chelsea immediately had a better balance to the side. It was Liverpool who still had the first effort on goal as Maxi drilled a shot straight into the arms of Cech. Drogba's first attempt at goal from a free kick was woeful when it was Alex who should of tested Reina.
Drogba then popped up down right hand side, beat his man and got to the byline, spotted Malouda making a run from the back post towards the near post 6 yards out, Drogba fired the cross in and Malouda connected and it looked a certain goal only for Reina to produce a world class save from point blank range to push it away. When that happened I knew it wasn't to be our day.
Ramires then headed over the bar from 10 yards but never looked like he was able to fully control the direction of his header. Chelsea were dominant but Liverpool were standing firm.
Shortly after another half chance for Chelsea, some neat and tidy interplay between Malouda and Terry played in Zhirkov left corner of the box, he ran onto the ball and headed towards the byline and took a shot on early towards Reina's near post, Reina had it covered and touched it away for a corner, replays showed it wasn't going in anyway.
Bosingwa and Sturridge came on for Ivanovic and Zhirkov but neither could have any real impact as Chelsea were now chasing the game. As the game opened up Liverpool looked to hit us on the counter and nearly put the game to bed as Kuyt looked like he had beaten Cech with a low drive towards the bottom corner, Cech stood up and managed to then spread himself and got a leg in the way to divert this shot away from goal.
We nearly then had a break through towards the end as Anelka fired low from close range under Reina, he managed to get a part of his body on the ball, the ball deflected up onto the cross bar and Carragher under pressure from Drogba headed the ball away. Didier Drogba's reaction to Carragher's clearance said it all.
That was it game over and Liverpool had beaten us 2-0 and it was well deserved. They, like Chelsea, didn't create that many clear cut opportunities but when they did and when they have a class act in Torres up front he made us pay twice. The thing is he didn't really do a lot in the game but when needed he sprang into life. If this guys isn't on form then god knows what he will be like when he is firing on all cylinders. Liverpool need to keep him fit to maintain their push up the league, if they don't they are in trouble.
Overall, Liverpool do deserve credit for the way they played for their two goals especially the second goal. Liverpool fans being honest will have to admit they sat on their 1-0 lead and soaked up the Chelsea pressure and looked to hit us on the counter and they did exactly that.
Chelsea with Ramires and Zhirkov looked at times out of their depth and unable to come up with anything to out fox their midfield opponents.
With Lampard and Essien missing yesterday and Drogba on the bench it was Chelsea's worst half of football so far this season and probably Liverpool's best. When you have these three missing you need your other big players to have good games and the fact is they didn't.
Chelsea will be licking their wounds this morning and know they never played well despite Carlo asking for us to continue to remain consistent. I would have liked to have seen young McEachran on for the second half in place of Ramires yesterday. The Chelsea play was crying out for someone to get hold of it in the middle and knock the ball about or to play the killer ball between two defenders. That hardly happened yesterday.
The difference yesterday was Liverpool's hard work and defensive shape and Fernando Torres up front. Credit to Liverpool, well deserved overall and you have no worries. I thought the likes of Lucas and Meireles who don't get alot of credit played well yesterday. With your off the field drama's looking to be over and with keeping Torres fit as your priority you will have no problems getting back up the table where looking for fourth is your target.
For Chelsea, we are lucky that our rivals have dropped points this season when and where they have because after the defeat to City away, the poor draw at Villa away and yesterday at Anfield we somehow remain two points clear at the top of the league.
The thing is and true loyal Chelsea fans who have been fans for years will know and that's typical Chelsea yesterday. People wonder why when we are successful we celebrate it and give it the big one. It's because we know how good we are and how good we can be, but every now and again (and that's three times away from home this season) we can be woeful and yesterday was one of them.
We need to pick ourselves up, get Essien and Lampard back as quickly as possible and sort out our away form. If we don't it could prove costly come the end of the season. We need to get back to winning ways starting on Wednesday against Fulham.